Porn star's lawyer says Russian paid Trump attorney Cohen

The report came as Michael Avenatti, the attorney representing porn actress Stormy Daniels released a dossier alleging that Vekselberg and his cousin transferred "approximately $500,000" to Cohen in eight payments. "After the inauguration, the firm hired Michael Cohen as a business consultant regarding potential sources of capital and potential investments in real estate and other ventures".

A company tied to a Russian oligarch sent US$500,000 (S$670,227.50) past year to an entity that lawyer Michael Cohen used to pay hush money to a porn actress who said she had a sexual encounter with President Donald Trump, according to attorney Michael Avenatti.

The New York Times and NBC News said they had reviewed financial documents that corroborated Avenatti's claims.

The New York Times reported last week that Vekselberg was questioned by agents working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller earlier this year, as part of their investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 USA elections.

The stakes are sky-high for Cohen, who is now under a federal criminal investigation by the USA attorney's office in Manhattan and had his home, hotel room and office raided last month.

The objective of the payments, which predate the sanctions, and the nature of the business relationship between Vekselberg and Cohen is unclear... CNN previously reported Federal Bureau of Investigation agents removed Cohen's computer, cell phone, business files and financial documents, according to the source.

According to the report, Novartis $NVS made four wire payments of $99,980 each, just under the $100,000 mark, which Avenatti noted began last fall and were wrapped in early January of this year, just weeks before soon-to-be CEO Vas Narasimhan met with Trump in Davos.

Avenatti released a report with preliminary findings about the bank account he says Cohen used to make the payment to Daniels.

In addition, Korea Aerospace Industries paid Cohen's company $150,000 last November, according to the records.

Don't miss: Will U.S. Go to War with Iran? A representative for Korea Aerospace declined to comment.

Offering confirmation for at least one of the payments, AT&T said in a statement that Essential Consultants was one of several firms it "engaged in early 2017 to provide insights into understanding the new administration". AT&T confirmed its connection Tuesday evening. It also denied that Essential did any legal or lobbying work for the company.

  • Joey Payne