Novartis top lawyer quits over Cohen payments

Novartis Says General Counsel to Retire After Cohen Payments

Novartis Lawyer Retires in Relation to Cohen Payments

Novartis has denied it was trying to gain access to Trump via payments to a firm controlled by Michael Cohen.

The top lawyer at Novartis is leaving after the company's $1.2 million yearlong contract with President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen came to light.

The top executive at Swiss drug making company Novartis is retiring from the company in connection with the $1.2 million it paid to a shadow company owned by President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Micheal Cohen previous year, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

Novartis admitted last week it was paying Cohen $100,000 a month.

The Swiss pharmaceutical company acknowledged last week that it paid Cohen $120,000 a month beginning in February 2017 for advice on how to navigate the new Trump administration's policies on health care. "As a co-signatory with our former CEO [Joe Jimenez], I take personal responsibility to bring the public debate on this matter to an end", said Ehrat of his decision to leave the firm.

Novartis changed CEOs in February, with Vas Narasimhan replacing former CEO Joe Jimenez.

"With the recent change in administration, Novartis believed that Michael Cohen could advise the company as to how the Trump administration might approach certain United States healthcare policy matters, including the Affordable Care Act", Novartis said in a statement to Business Insider on March 9.

Both Ehrat and former chief executive Joe Jimenez signed the contract past year.

After meeting with Cohen in March 2017 the company said it concluded that Cohen wouldn't be helpful and decided not to meet with him again, but continued to pay out his contract.

"After my team met with him individually, it was clear that he oversold his abilities", Jimenez told Bloomberg. It said the payments continued because the contract could not have been terminated.

Korean Aerospace Industries also paid Cohen $150,000 for consulting services.

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