UPDATED: Novartis Reveals it Paid President Trump’s Attorney $1.2 Million for Healthcare Consulting Services
Since a firestorm broke about the payments made to Cohen’s Essential Consultants, Switzerland-based Novartis released a statement that said it entered into a deal with Cohen in February 2017 for one-year of consulting work at $100,000 per month – a total of $1.2 million. The company said it believed Cohen, a longtime associate of Trump, could advise the company on how the Trump administration could approach healthcare policy matters, including the Affordable Care Act.
After the agreement was struck in February 2017, Novartis said it held its first meeting with Cohen the following month. It was then determined, Novartis said in its statement, that Cohen would be “unable to provide the services that Novartis had anticipated related to US healthcare policy matters.” Novartis said it opted to end its relationship with Cohen, however, was obliged to continue paying the attorney because the contract could only be voided for cause. The payments continued through January 2018, the company said.
Cohen is the same attorney who reportedly paid $130,000 to adult film actress Stormy Daniels as alleged hush money regarding an alleged affair with Trump.
Initial reports, released by Daniels’ attorney, included $400,000 of the Novartis payments to Essential. Those payment records were from October 2017 to January 2018. The recorded date of the January 2018 check was only a few weeks before Novartis’ incoming Chief Executive Officer Vas Narasimhan met with President Trump at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. During that forum, Trump met with the Novartis CEO as well as the heads of other European life science companies to encourage greater investment in the United States.
In its release Wednesday afternoon, Novartis said the payments made to Cohen predated Narasimhan’s tenure as CEO, which began Feb. 1, 2018. Additionally, Novartis said that that contrary to media reports, those reported payments “was also in no way related to the group dinner Dr. Narasimhan had at the World Economic Forum.” Novartis went on to say that any 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.”
Novartis added that in terms of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and talks with Novartis, the company cooperated fully with the officer and provided all requested information.
“Novartis considers this matter closed as to itself and is not aware of any outstanding questions regarding the agreement,” the company said.