Swiss Prosecutors Looking Into Novartis’ Payments To Cohen

For Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen – and the companies that elected to pay him a sizable consulting fee for “insights” into the president’s thinking – the hits just keep coming.

After the Wall Street Journal revealed over the weekend that the special counsel’s office had contacted every company that had paid Cohen through his Essential Consulting LLLC setup (the paper also quoted Mark Cuban calling Cohen “a hustler”, adding “this is what he does”), Bloomberg reported Monday night that Swiss prosecutors might be looking into the payments made by the Basel-based pharmaceutical company.

Switzerland’s Attorney General is in discussions with local prosecutors in the hometown of Novartis AG about payments the drugmaker made to Michael Cohen, the troubled lawyer for Donald Trump.

The Office of the Attorney General and Basel Prosecutor’s Office are both aware of the payments and are in contact about the matter, spokespeople for the agencies said in separate statements Monday. The Attorney General said it hasn’t opened any criminal proceedings in relation to the issue.

Of course, as we pointed out shortly after Stormy Daniels attorney Michael Avenatti first published his now-infamous dossier on Cohen, one need only take one look at the dollar amount of the Novartis payments that totaled some $1.2 million for a clue as to the Swiss regulator’s intentions. 

Novartis

Novartis swiftly apologized about the payments after Avenatti published his dossier, and clarified that it had paid Cohen for insights into Trump’s thinking about health care policy – not for any specific legal or lobbying work.

Novartis Chief Executive Officer Vas Narasimhan said the company “made a mistake” in hiring Cohen o give the company insight on Trump’s health-care policy plans. Cohen used the account that he collected these payments with to deliver $130,000 in “hush money” to Daniels.

In what looks like a feeble attempt to appease prosecutors, Novartis said it cooperated in providing information requested by Mueller. Though it denied that it had been contacted by Swiss prosecutors.

While Bloomberg neglected to say exactly what prosecutors are looking at, we imagine this isn’t the last time we’ll learn about a separate probe being launched based on the documents published by Avenatti.

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