An individual near Mr. Intrater stated that the manager had no thought Essential Consultants was used for the separate fee to Ms. Clifford, and that he employed a variety of different consultants on the time for related costs.
“Columbus Nova is a management company solely owned and controlled by Americans,” stated Richard Owens, a lawyer for Mr. Intrater and Columbus Nova. “After the inauguration, the firm hired Michael Cohen as a business consultant regarding potential sources of capital and potential investments in real estate and other ventures. Reports today that Viktor Vekselberg used Columbus Nova as a conduit for payments to Michael Cohen are false. Neither Viktor Vekselberg nor anyone else other than Columbus Nova’s owners were involved in the decision to hire Cohen or provide funding for his engagement.”
A lawyer for Mr. Vekselberg didn’t reply to a request for remark.
In addition to questioning Mr. Vekselberg, Mr. Mueller’s investigators have additionally interviewed Mr. Intrater, although there isn’t a indication that both man is suspected of wrongdoing, The Times reported final week.
The particular person near Mr. Intrater stated that he was inspired to attend the inauguration by an American pal, unrelated to Mr. Cohen, and that he had needed to make use of the journey as a chance to satisfy with enterprise associates in Washington.
Mr. Vekselberg has invested in Columbus Nova’s non-public fairness funds by way of his sprawling Russian-based conglomerate, the Renova Group, which operates within the power sector and elsewhere. Mr. Vekselberg was considered one of seven Kremlin-linked oligarchs hit with sanctions in April by the Trump administration, which additionally imposed the penalties on the Renova Group.
Renova has had a monetary relationship with VTB, one of many largest state-owned banks in Russia, based on paperwork that have been a part of the “Panama Papers” leak of information from an offshore legislation agency. The paperwork present that VTB and a subsidiary, VTB Capital, lent or invested at the very least $350 million in Mr. Vekselberg’s corporations. The present state of the debt is unclear, although one doc suggests it was discharged in 2010.
Mr. Cohen created Essential Consultants in Delaware lower than two weeks earlier than he accomplished his cope with Ms. Clifford, who’s now contesting her contract with Mr. Cohen as invalid. Mr. Cohen initially stated he paid her out of his personal pocket by the use of a house fairness line of credit score.
But final week, former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York stated that Mr. Trump had reimbursed Mr. Cohen by way of a number of $35,000 month-to-month transactions that amounted to greater than $400,000 — protecting the fee to Ms. Clifford and, he stated, different “incidental expenses.”