Stormy Daniels lawyer Michael Avenatti is not saying how he came into possession of financial records of Michael Cohen, but at some point he may be required to disclose this to the court.
On Tuesday, Avenatti posted online a “Project Sunlight” executive summary (.pdf) for reporters to review. Avenatti examines Essential Consultants LLC, a Delaware company, on Oct. 17, 2016, just a few weeks before Election Day. The company’s banking records are from the First Republic Bank branch (“First Republic”) located in Manhattan, New York City, New York.
Avenatti alleges that representations made to the bank to open the account “were false when made and continued to be false at all material times based on the activity occurring in the account. This likely constitutes bank fraud.”
The media narrative has been that Essential Consultants LLC was used as a cut out for the payment of the $130,000 to Stormy Daniels, which it was.
But Michael Cohen was also using his company for a “pay to play” scheme to sell his access to Donald Trump as his personal attorney.
Avenatti alleges that “From October 2016 through January 2018, Mr. Cohen used his First Republic account to engage in suspicious financial transactions totaling $4,425,033.46.” Among these transactions include:
- Chief among these suspicious financial transactions are approximately $500,000 in payments received from Mr. Viktor Vekselberg, a Russian Oligarch with an estimated net worth of nearly $13 Billion. Mr. Vekselberg and his cousin Mr. Andrew Intrater routed eight payments to Mr. Cohen through a company named Columbus Nova LLC (“Columbus”) beginning in January 2017 and continuing until at least August 2017.
- Columbus Nova is a private equity firm founded in 2000 with over $2 billion in assets. Mr. Intrater is the CEO of Columbus Nova. Columbus Nova is the U.S. investment vehicle for Renova Group, a multi-national company controlled by Mr. Vekselberg. Renova group holds investments in various interests, including mining, oil, and telecommunications .
- Also included in these suspicious financial transactions are four payments in late 2017 and early 2018 totaling $399,920 made by global pharmaceutical giant Novartis directly to Essential in four separate transactions of $99,980 each (just below $100,000).
- In addition, Essential received $200,000 in four separate payments of $50,000 in late 2017 and early 2018 from AT&T.
- Essential also received a $150,000 payment in November 2017 from Korea Aerospace Industries LTD.
There are a several other financial transactions highlighted in Avenatti’s executive summary.