Novartis paid more than $1 million to a shell company controlled by President Trump’s embattled attorney, and the company confirmed it discussed the matter with Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Novartis confirmed Wednesday it paid $100,000 a month beginning last March in a one-year deal with Essential Consultants. The consulting company was the source for the $130,000 Cohen paid adult film actress Stormy Daniels in exchange for her silence. A unit of the drugmaker, Novartis Investment SARL, made the monthly payments to Essential Consultants, according to documents released by Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti.
“In February 2017, Novartis entered into a one year agreement with Essential Consultants shortly after the election of President Trump focused on U.S. healthcare policy matters. The terms were consistent with the market. The agreement expired in February 2018,” Novartis said. The drugmaker claimed it believed Cohen could offer advice on how the then-new administration would approach healthcare policy. While the company concluded after a March 2017 meeting with Cohen that Essential Consultants could not provide these services, it could not dissolve the one-year agreement early without cause, Novartis said.