Michael Cohen was busy like a beaver doing business through his shell company, Essential Consultants, both before and after the 2016 election. He signed a contract with Novartis for $1.2 million for health care policy consulting work, which it turned out, he couldn’t even do. But Novartis paid up, just the same. CNBC:
The company also said it has been questioned by special counsel Robert Mueller‘s team about the payments to Cohen.
NBC News reported later Wednesday that a senior Novartis official said that Cohen reached out shortly after Trump’s election “promising access” to the new administration.
Novartis said it signed a one-year contract with Cohen’s shell company, Essential Consultants, for $100,000 per month in February 2017, shortly after Trump was inaugurated as president.
Novartis said it believed Cohen “could advise the company as to how the Trump administration might approach certain U.S. health-care policy matters, including the Affordable Care Act.”
Here is the full statement from Novartis on Wednesday:
In February 2017, shortly after the election of President Trump, Novartis entered into a one year agreement with Essential Consultants. With the recent change in administration, Novartis believed that Michael Cohen could advise the company as to how the Trump administration might approach certain US healthcare policy matters, including the Affordable Care Act. The agreement was for a term of one year, and paid Essential Consultants 100,000 USD per month. In March 2017, Novartis had its first meeting with Michael Cohen under this agreement. Following this initial meeting, Novartis determined that Michael Cohen and Essential Consultants would be unable to provide the services that Novartis had anticipated related to US healthcare policy matters and the decision was taken not to engage further. As the contract unfortunately could only be terminated for cause, payments continued to be made until the contract expired by its own terms in February 2018.
The engagement of Essential Consultants predated Vas Narasimhan becoming Novartis CEO and he was in no way involved with this agreement. Contrary to recent media reports, this agreement was also in no way related to the group dinner Dr. Narasimhan had at the World Economic Forum in Davos with President Trump and 15 Europe based industry leaders. Suggestions to the contrary clearly misrepresent the facts and can only be intended to further personal or political agendas as to which Novartis should not be a part.
In terms of the Special Counsel’s office, Novartis was contacted in November 2017 regarding the company’s agreement with Essential Consultants. Novartis cooperated fully with the Special Counsel’s office and provided all the information requested. Novartis considers this matter closed as to itself and is not aware of any outstanding questions regarding the agreement.
Don’t forget the $200,000 from AT&T and the $500,000 from the Russian oligarch. Michael Cohen was doing a real land office business cashing in on Trump. And now it’s come time to pay the piper.
Whew, $1.2Million for doing nothing. Nice work if you can get it.