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Collusion or Influence Peddling?
Author: BobR    Date: 05/10/2018 13:19:39

Several important news items have popped out lately that seem important, but are hard to wrap one's mind around. It seems like something dirty is going on here, but what? Is it collusion?... or is it influence peddling? It's hard to know exactly how much tRump knew or did, but his long-time personal lawyer - Michael Cohen - is smack-dab in the middle of some serious illegal activity.

Two of the major stories involve American companies: Novartis and Columbus Nova. It's a little confusing because the names are similar. They are very different, however.

Columbus Nova is - supposedly - an investment firm, in that they provide and manage investment funds. In 2017, they paid Michael Cohen $500K, through Cohen's shell company "Essential Consultants" (which is the same company that paid Stormy Daniels the $130K). More interesting than that, though, is that the single largest investor in Columbus Nova is Viktor Vekselberg, who was at the same RT dinner as Putin and former tRump security adviser Michael Flynn.

Columbus Nova has also been described as a subsidiary of Renova, a relationship that they scrubbed from their website (you can see the pre-scrubbed version here).

So an American company that is a financial subsidiary of a Russian company - founded by a Russian Oligarch with ties to Putin and who likely met Michael Flynn - paid tRump's lawyer $500K for... what? To make this all the more tawdry, Columbus Nova has been registering websites aimed at white supremacists. That fits right in, doesn't it?

Novartis is a pharmaceuticals company, and one that some people would probably refer to as "Big Pharma". They too paid money to Michael Cohen: $1.2M in monthly installments over the course of a year (Feb 2017 - Jan 2018). Why? to get inside access:
The contract was approved in early 2017 under the former Novartis chief executive Joe Jimenez and was part of its efforts to learn more about how the new Trump administration might approach certain U.S. healthcare policy matters.

[...]

Jimenez also met the president after he took office at a Jan. 31, 2017 meeting in the White House. At the time, Jimenez was the incoming chairman-elect of the powerful Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) industry lobby.

In U.S. television interviews with ABC and MSNBC, Avenatti declined to say where he had received the information about the payments to Cohen from.

Avenatti, who also alleged payments were made separately by AT&T (T.N) and Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd (047810.KS), raised questions about the Novartis contract, saying it was unclear what healthcare expertise Cohen could provide to a global drug firm.

For his part, Cohen was riding high, but perhaps flew too close to the sun. Cohen was either influence peddling for the president, or acting as a lobbyist, when he wasn't registered as one. Both are illegal.

Grab your popcorn...
 

27 comments (Latest Comment: 05/10/2018 19:19:04 by livingonli)
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