Stormy Daniels Hush Money Payoff May Have Been Reimbursed By Russian Oligarch

Trump executive Michael Cohen 015

Michael Avenatti claims that a Russian oligarch with ties to Vladimir Putin made a $500,000 payment into Michael Cohen’s bank account shortly after he paid Stormy Daniels.

Things continue spiraling out of control in the Stormy Daniels case.

Earlier this evening, her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, posted a tweet claiming that a Russian oligarch may have paid back the hush money paid to Stormy Daniels.

“After significant investigation, we have discovered that Mr. Trump’s atty Mr. Cohen received approximately $500,000 in the mos. after the election from a company controlled by a Russian Oligarc with close ties to Mr. Putin. These monies may have reimbursed the $130k payment,” he tweeted.

Newsweek elaborated on the tweet, reporting that:

{Avenatti] has claimed that a Russian oligarch with links to Vladimir Putin made a payment into the same bank account Michael Cohen used to finance a $130,000 hush money agreement with Daniels in October 2016. The $500,000 was deposited into the First Republic Bank account within 75 days of the payment to Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, Avenatti said Tuesday, and may have been used to cover the costs of preventing Daniels from talking about an alleged affair with President Donald Trump in 2006.

This allegation by Avenatti comes just 4 days after The New York Times reported that a team of investigators working for Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller stopped and questioned a Russian oligarch earlier this year.

When the United States sought to punish Russia last month for its election interference and other aggressions, it targeted some of Russia’s wealthiest men, imposing sanctions on those viewed as enriching themselves off President Vladimir V. Putin’s government.

Now it turns out that one of the men, Viktor F. Vekselberg, was also singled out in another of the efforts to confront Russia’s election interference: the investigation led by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.

Federal agents working with Mr. Mueller stopped Mr. Vekselberg, a billionaire businessman, at a New York-area airport this year, searched his electronic devices and questioned him, according to people familiar with the matter. They confronted him after he stepped off a private plane about two months ago, according to one of the people.

Newsweek provided background on Vekselberg, reporting that:

The Ukraine-born Vekselberg is the founder and president of Russia’s largest conglomerate, the Renova Group, which has enabled him to become one of the country’s wealthiest men—worth an estimated $13.5 billion as of 2015.

Natasha Bertrand, a staff writer for The Atlantic, asked Michael Cohen’s attorney about the payment, but he claimed it wasn’t a payment.

“Michael Cohen’s attorney, Steve Ryan, won’t discuss the $500,000 Michael Avenatti says Cohen received from Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg in 2017. “I understand the shorthand you’re using, but it wasn’t a payment,” Ryan says before hanging up,” she tweeted.

She followed up a few minutes later, tweeting that: “Michael Avenatti wouldn’t go into details about how he knows about the $500k Cohen received from Vekselberg’s company, but said “it is not an accurate statement” to say that these weren’t payments.

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