Novartis Top Lawyer Is Stepping Down After Cohen Payments

Novartis Top Lawyer Is Stepping Down After Cohen Payments

Novartis has said that its former chief executive, Joe Jimenez, entered into the agreement with Mr. Cohen as part of an effort to gain insight into the approach the new administration would take on topics of interest to Novartis, particularly health care.

That decision comes a week after it emerged the Novartis subsidiary Novartis Investments S.A.R.L. paid $100,000 a month for 12 months to Essential Consultants, which is owned and controlled by Donald Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen.

"Although the contract was legally in order, it was an error", Ehrat said in a statement. "As a co-signatory with our former CEO, I take personal responsibility to bring the public debate on this matter to an end", Mr. Ehrat said in a statement.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, said she was paid $130,000 by Cohen to stay quiet about her alleged affair with Trump. He will retire at the start of June, to be replaced by current Novartis ethics chief Shannon Thyme Klinger.

Shannon Thyme Klinger, who is now the chief ethics, risk and compliance officer at Novartis, will take Ehrat's place as Group General Counsel on June 1. But it said it learned the contract could only be canceled for cause and allowed it to expire in February.

Novartis previously admitted to hiring Essential in February 2017 for advice "as to how the Trump administration might approach certain US healthcare policy matters".

Last week, a top Senate Democrat opened an inquiry into the agreement between Novartis and Cohen, sending letters to Narasimhan and Cohen seeking financial information and a further accounting of the company's rationale for engaging the Trump insider.

Novartis had not acted on the advice and Cohen had never provided any access to anyone in the administration, said Jimenez.

"After my team met with him individually, it was clear that he oversold his abilities", Jimenez told Bloomberg. Rather than terminating the contract, Jimenez elected not to, because he anxious that ensuing litigation would cost more than paying out the contract would.

"That was a mistake", said Jimenez who admitted the firm should have "parted ways" with Cohen as soon as it became apparent he could not help.

The case is under examination by the Greek and USA authorities. In addition to those who actually lobby the government, a person would have to register under FARA if they do any kind of public relations for a foreign client or act as a consultant on USA policy, as Cohen was hired to do.

Michael Avenatti, Daniels' lawyer, also revealed that Cohen received $500,000 through Essential Consultants from Columbus Nova, a company with connections to Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, who has ties to President Vladimir Putin.

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