By Karoli Kuns 5/08/18 3:56pm — UPDATED: 5/08/18 4:29pm
5 hours ago by Karoli Kuns
Ari Melber broke news on his show about Michael Avenatti’s allegations that a $500,000 payment from a Russian oligarch was made to the same bank account that paid Stormy Daniels for her silence.
Lost in the news of the oligarch, however, were payments made by high-profile corporate entities to Cohen’s shell corporation, Essential Consultants, LLC.
According to Avenatti, Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg paid Essential Consultants $500,000 via a company called Columbus Nova, LLC, owned by his cousin Andrew Intrater. The payments began in January 2017 and continued through August 2017, at least.Essential Consultants, LLC (EC, LLC) also received payments of $399,920 from Novartis, a pharmaceutical corporation whose executives then scored a meeting with Trump at Davos earlier this year.
The shell corporation also received $200,000 in $50,000 installments, beginning in late 2017 and ending in early 2018.
Korea Aerospace Industries, Ltd. also paid the corporation $150,000 on November 27, 2017.
In addition, Elliott Broidy paid Cohen’s shell corporation $187,000. Payments from Broidy were immediately transferred to Michael D. Cohen & Associates’ bank account.
The purpose of these payments is unknown, nor is there a clear trail of where the funds went after they arrived in EC, LLC’s bank account, with the exception of the Broidy payments, which did land in Cohen’s account.
It should be noted that Cohen testified in court that he had three clients at this time: Trump, Broidy, and Sean Hannity. Therefore, none of these corporations or oligarchs were Cohen’s client, which leaves the question hanging in the air: Why were these transfers made and what were they for?
As I was completing this, Ari Melber reports that AT&T confirms they paid Cohen $200,000 in order to get an “understanding of the new Trump administration.”
Their full statement reads as follows:
“Essential Consulting was one of several firms we engaged in early 2017 to provide insights into understanding the new administration. They did no legal or lobbying work for us, and the contract ended in December 2017.”
You decide if that smells right. It doesn’t smell at all right to me, particularly in light of the fact that there is no record of those payments being transferred to another Cohen account.
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