Swiss Drug Giant Novartis Confirms $400K In Payments To Cohen For Advice On “Healthcare Policy Matters”

Reuters reports:

Novartis has ended a contract with a U.S. firm linked to U.S. President Donald Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, and has cooperated with a special counsel looking into potential meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, the Swiss drugmaker said.

It was responding to remarks by an attorney for porn star Stormy Daniels that Novartis was among companies that made payments to Cohen’s Essential Consultants outfit in late 2017 and early 2018.

“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 in a statement on Wednesday.

STAT News reports:

A Novartis unit called Novartis Investment SARL made four payments, each one totaling $99,980, to the consulting firm, according to documents released by Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for Stormy Daniels, the pornographic film star whose real name is Stephanie Clifford and who was paid $130,000 by Essential Consultants to keep quiet about her alleged affair with Trump.

The first Novartis payment was purportedly made on Oct. 5, 2017, while the subsequent payments followed in successive months — Nov. 3, 2017, Dec. 1, 2017, and Jan. 5, 2018, according to the documents. A Novartis spokesman wrote us that “any contracts were done prior to (chief executive officer Vasant Narasimhan) taking over.”