Trump lawyer's woes provide lesson for compliance officers

Stormy Daniels performs in Philadelphia tonight and tomorrow night. | Getty Images

Lawyer Michael Avenatti also said hundreds of thousands of dollars streamed into Trump attorney Michael Cohen's account from companies, including pharmaceutical giant Novartis, AT&T and Korea Aerospace, with US government business interests.

Daniels' lawyer, Michael Avenatti, had said Cohen's shell company, Essential Consultants, had received a total of $200,000 in four monthly installment payments of $50,000 from AT&T.

Novartis spokesman Eric Althoff says in an emailed statement that Novartis hired lawyer Michael Cohen for $100,000 a month to consult on health care matters, but determined after a single meeting with Cohen that he wouldn't be of use. "Any agreements with Essential Consultants were entered before our current CEO taking office in February of this year and have expired", he added.

Novartis allegedly realized in the spring of 2017 that Cohen could not provide the information the company requested, but did not attempt to cancel the contract for fear of "ticking off the president", according to a second article in STAT. "They fail to address, let alone contradict 99% of the statement in what we released", Avenatti said on Wednesday.

In U.S. television interviews with ABC and MSNBC, Avenatti declined to say where he had received the information about the payments to Cohen from.

The lawyers for Michael Cohen told a NY judge Wednesday that Daniels' lawyer, Michael Avenatti, has made "numerous incorrect statements" publicly since releasing information related to Cohen on Tuesday.

Mr Avenatti is representing Ms Stephanie Clifford, the adult film star known as Stormy Daniels, who was paid US$130,000 (S$175,138.60) by Mr Cohen just before the 2016 presidential election to remain silent about an alleged sexual encounter with Mr Trump a decade earlier.

"Why is no media outlet doing a story on the refusal of the Treasury Department to release to the public the 3 Suspicious Activity Reports that were filed concerning Essential Consultants, LLC's bank account?" "Novartis cooperated fully with the Special Counsel's office and provided all the information requested", a Novartis spokeswoman said in a statement.

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"Essential Consulting was one of several firms we engaged in early 2017 to provide insights into understanding the new administration".

"The search warrant executed by the FBI on Mr. Cohen's office had nothing to do with matters handled by the firm, neither our firm nor any of our clients are involved in the federal investigation of Cohen", Kakolyris said. The Washington Post first reported the investigation.

President Trump's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, told CBS News that the documents provided by Avenatti include "no allegations against the president" and "no clear allegations of a crime". At the time, BuzzFeed published the so-called "Steele Dossier", which alleged a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation to influence the 2016 election.

Exposed: President Trump's personal lawyer appears to have been running a front company to funnel money used to pay off porn stars and guarantee corporate access to the White House.

But a source with knowledge of the matter said it was logical to seek "insights" about the new administration from one of Trump's longtime confidants.

Althoff says "the decision was taken not to engage further".

While Narasimhan was among business leaders who dined with Trump in Davos at the World Economic Forum in January, Novartis said that had nothing to do with its contract with Cohen.

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