Novartis Lawyer Retires in Relation to Cohen Payments

Michael Cohen

The top executive at Swiss drug making company Novartis is retiring from the company in connection with the $1.2 million it paid to a shadow company owned by President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Micheal Cohen a year ago, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

Ehrat is to resign from the Basel-based pharma after revelations the firm paid $1.2 million to a company controlled by the United States president's personal lawyer Michael Cohen. "As a co-signatory with our former CEO, I take personal responsibility to bring the public debate on this matter to an end", Ehrat, 60, said in a statement released Wednesday.

Novartis changed CEOs in February, with Vas Narasimhan replacing former CEO Joe Jimenez.

Michael Avenatti, the lawyer representing the adult-film star Stormy Daniels, alleged in May that a Novartis unit had paid Essential Consulting, a firm linked to Cohen, almost $400,000 in late 2017 and early 2018.

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That decision comes a week after it emerged the Novartis subsidiary Novartis Investments S.A.R.L. paid $100,000 a month for 12 months to Essential Consultants, which is owned and controlled by Donald Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen.

In a May 9th statement, Novartis acknowledged the payments but denied any attempt to buy political influence.

AT&T last Friday ousted its top lobbyist, Bob Quinn, and the wireless carrier's top executive said it was a "big mistake" to pay Cohen more than $600,000 during 2017 for advice on a "wide range of issues", including its proposed merger with Time Warner. The company said it had expected that Cohen could advise it on the administration's approach to healthcare policies such as the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

Novartis said its representatives met with Cohen in March 2017. Novartis said it stopped using Essential's services, but couldn't break the contract and paid him for the next 11 months. It said the payments continued because the contract could not have been terminated.

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