Drug company CEO: It was a ‘mistake’ to enter into Cohen agreement

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The CEO of a Swiss pharmaceutical company linked to President Trump’s private lawyer, Michael Cohen, reportedly sent an email to employees Thursday to apologize.

Vasant Narasimhan wrote in the email obtained by the outlet that “yesterday was not a good day for Novartis,” Stat reported

“Many of you have seen media reports regarding the Novartis relationship with Essential Consultants in the U.S. and many of you will feel disappointed and frustrated,” Narasimhan wrote, referring to a company Cohen created.

{mosads}“We made a mistake entering into this engagement and as a consequence are being criticized by a world that expects more from us,” Narasimhan continued in the email, which was shared by a Novartis employee. “Personally, for my family it was also a difficult day as unfounded stories spread through the U.S. news … I went to sleep frustrated and tired.”

Novartis is one of the companies that Cohen allegedly promised access to the Trump administration. He entered into an arrangement with the pharmaceutical firm worth $1.2 million, which was approved by then-CEO Joe Jimenez.

“I was not involved in any aspect of this situation,” Narasimhan wrote on Thursday. He reportedly declined to renew the contract and let it expire. 

One senior employee spoke anonymously to Stat and said many were digusted by the arrangement. 

“People are angry and confused, because it makes all of us look bad,” the employee reportedly said. 

Novartis said it realized after its first meeting with the New York lawyer that “Michael Cohen and Essential Consultants would be unable to provide the services that Novartis had anticipated related to US healthcare policy matters and the decision was taken not to engage further.” 

Novartis said the contract could not be terminated, so they continued the payments to Cohen until February, according to a statement. 

The deal has come under scrutiny by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office through his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Novartis revealed in a statement that Mueller contacted the company about the deal last year. 

“Novartis cooperated fully with the special counsel’s office and provided all the information requested,” the company said in the statement. 

Essential Consultants LLC was the same company Cohen used to send adult-film actress Stormy Daniels a $130,000 payment as part of a nondisclosure agreement to keep quiet about an alleged sexual encounter with President Trump in 2006.

Daniels’s attorney, Michael Avenatti, earlier this week published documents that purportedly detailed the companies that have made payments to Essential Consultants, including Novartis.

The documents also indicated that Cohen received $500,000 in the months after the 2016 election from a company run by a Russian oligarch with ties to President Vladimir Putin.

That company, Columbus Nova, reportedly registered websites aimed at white nationalists and members of the alt-right during the 2016 presidential campaign, The Washington Post reported on Thursday.

Tags Donald Trump Donald Trump Donald Trump litigation drug company investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election Michael Avenatti Michael Cohen Pharmaceutical industry Robert Mueller Robert Mueller Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections Stormy Daniels Switzerland Switzerland

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