A company tied to a Russian oligarch sent $500,000 last 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 bombshell revelations, which couldn’t immediately be verified, caught companies and the president’s team off guard when Avenatti unveiled them on Twitter and linked to a publicly available dropbox account. It’s the latest twist in litigation brought by Stephanie Clifford, the porn actress known as Stormy Daniels, who was paid $130,000 for her silence just before the 2016 presidential election.
The Daily Beast confirms that Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen received hundreds of thousands of dollars from a company controlled by Putin-aligned Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg.
The allegations were initially made Tuesday by Michael Avenatti, porn actress Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, and confirmed by a source familiar with the matter.
According to a dossier published by Avenatti on Tuesday evening, “Vekselberg and his cousin Mr. Andrew Intrater routed eight payments to Mr. Cohen through a company named Columbus Nova LLC beginning in January 2017 and continuing until at least August 2017.”
The funds, Avenatti suggested, may have been used to reimburse Cohen for the $130,000 hush payment made to Daniels in exchange for her silence about an alleged affair with Trump.
Intrater was also a donor to the Republican National Committee, where Cohen served as a deputy finance chairman. In June 2017, Intrater donated $35,000 to a joint fundraising committee for the RNC and Trump’s reelection campaign. He also gave a quarter-million dollars to Trump’s inaugural committee. (Previously, Intrater gave only to Democrats like Gov. Bill Richardson and Sen. Ted Kennedy.)
Intrater and Vekselberg have also been active investors in the U.S. technology and media sectors. Columbus Nova Technology Partners was the first and only outside investor in Gawker Media, before the company was felled by a lawsuit funded by Trump ally Peter Thiel. Columbus Nova also backed the record label of former Def Jam boss Lyor Cohen, invested in the streaming music pioneer Rhapsody, and put money behind a gig-economy site, a “genetic risk” firm, and a company called Tomfoolery Incorporated.
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