WASHINGTON – U.S. President Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, asked the Qatari government for at least $1 million in December 2016 in exchange for access or insight into the Trump administration, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday.
Qatar turned down Cohen’s offer, made weeks before Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, the Post reported, citing several people with knowledge of the situation. Other media outlets also reported Wednesday that Cohen requested money from Ahmed al-Rumaihi, who at the time was head of the investments division of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund.
Reuters could not immediately independently verify the reports. Cohen’s attorney, Stephen Ryan, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters on the reports.
Al-Rumaihi told the Post that Cohen made the solicitation in early December 2016 at the Peninsula Hotel in New York. They later spoke again outside a meeting in Trump Tower in New York on Dec. 12, 2016, the Post reported.
Al-Rumaihi was at Trump Tower as part of a Qatari delegation that included Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed al-Thani, the Post said.
Al-Rumaihi told Cohen that Qatar expected to invest in Trump plans to solicit investment in a U.S. infrastructure program, the Post reported. Cohen offered to help find projects for Qatar to sponsor, in exchange for a $1 million upfront fee, the newspaper reported.
The request to Qatar would be the latest such exchange offered by Cohen to be made public following acknowledgments by U.S. and European companies last week that they paid Cohen, who was Trump’s lawyer for about a decade and self-described “fixer” for Trump.
Swiss drug-maker Novartis AG said it had paid Cohen nearly $1.2 million; U.S. telecommunications company AT&T Inc .said it made payments of $600,000; and South Korea’s Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. said it hired him for $150,000.
Novartis and AT&T have said they were contacted by the office of U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller about the situation in late 2017.
Mueller is investigating possible collusion between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia, something that Trump has repeatedly denied.
Prosecutors are investigating Cohen for possible bank and tax fraud, possible campaign law violations linked to a hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, and perhaps other matters related to Trump’s presidential campaign, a person familiar with the probe has said.
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