Firm with ties to Russian oligarch allegedly made payments to Trump's attorney

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Stormy Daniels' attorney Michael Avenatti has outlined a series of "suspicious financial transactions" involving close to $400,000 in payments Novartis made to the account of Essential Consultants, which was earlier used by Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen to pay $130,000 to the adult film actress to keep her silent about allegations of an affair with the president.

The memo, containing highly specific dates and amounts, stated that Viktor Vekselberg, a Russian billionaire, and his cousin "routed" eight payments totaling approximately $500,000 to Cohen's company, Essential Consultants, between January and August 2017.

The goal of the payments, which predate the sanctions, and the nature of the business relationship between Vekselberg and Cohen is unclear...

An attorney for Cohen, Steve Ryan, told Atlantic reporter Natasha Bertrand that he wouldn't discuss Avenatti's claim. First Republic declined to comment.

Vekselberg also oversaw fundraising for the Moscow Jewish Museum, including hosting a 2014 gala in Russian Federation attended by Trump's daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner.

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"Columbus Nova is a management company exclusively owned and controlled by Americans", Columbus Nova's attorney Richard Owens said in a statement Tuesday night.

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

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

Trump denies he and Daniels had an affair and has said he didn't know about the settlement.

Avenatti released the so-called "executive summary" of what he says are financial transactions by Essential Consultants LLC, the entity that paid Clifford $130,000 for her silence late in the 2016 campaign.

Michael Cohen, one of President Trump's lawyers, leaves federal court in NY on April 26. "They did no legal or lobbying work for us, and the contract ended in December 2017", the company said in a statement.

Novartis and Korea Aerospace did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Vekselberg, who is one of the subjects of recent USA sanctions, is one of two Russian oligarchs stopped by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents earlier this after their planes landed in NY.

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