Novartis (NVS) CEO Vasant Narasimhan has called the pharmaceutical company’s $1.2 million payment to Trump lawyer Michael Cohen a ‘mistake.’
Narasimhan became CEO Feb. 1, after the company paid Cohen’s consulting firm Essential Consultants LLC $100,000 per month for one year for what it said was insight into health-care policy. In a letter to employees, Narasimhan said he was not involved in any aspect of the transaction and felt “frustrated” with the arrangement. He said he expected many employees to feel “disappointed and frustrated,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
The payment to Trump’s lawyer, along with payments from AT&T Inc. (T) and a Russian oligarch came to light this week in a report issued by a lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels, who says she was paid $130,000 in hush money by Cohen. (See also: AT&T Confirms it Paid Trump for Insights.)
In a statement, Novartis said that it wanted to end the contract after the first month because Essential Consultants didn’t “provide the services that Novartis had anticipated.” But it was contractually bound to pay for the full year.
“As the contract unfortunately could only be terminated for cause, payments continued to be made until the contract expired by its own terms in February 2018,” Novartis’ statement read.
AT&T Wanted Info on Time Warner
Telecommunications giant AT&T paid Cohen’s firm $600,000, or $50,000 per month, for guidance specifically on Time Warner (TWX), according to The Washington Post, which said it received related documents.
AT&T is trying to take over Time Warner in a $85 billion merger that needs the approval of federal regulators. The U.S. Justice Department is trying to block the deal with a lawsuit that is still pending. (See also: AT&T Stock Faces a 14% Decline.)