Trump Lawyer Cohen Dangled Policy Help, Ex-Novartis Chief Says

Trump Lawyer Cohen Dangled Policy Help, Ex-Novartis Chief Says

Trump Lawyer Cohen Dangled Policy Help, Ex-Novartis Chief Says

The $100,000-per-month contract between Novartis and Cohen's Essential Consultants was approved under former chief executive Joe Jimenez in 2017 as a bid to gain insight into United States healthcare policy under the new administration.

The second was Novartis' top lawyer, Felix Ehrat, who stepped down as general counsel, effective June 1, and took "personal responsibility" for the deal, which landed Novartis in a scandal that the company is now scrambling to contain.

"Although the contract was legally in order, it was an error", Ehrat, 60, said on Wednesday. According to earlier reports, Essential Consultants reached out to Novartis in February 2017, promising senior officials access to President Trump if they contracted with their company.

Novartis had also paid Cohen into the account, which is the same LLC that Cohen used to pay $130,000 to adult-film star Stormy Daniels, allegedly for her silence about an affair she claims she had with Trump.

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To that end, it's parting ways with one of its top lawyers, Felix R. Ehrat, a key player in the drug maker's $1.2 million deal with Trump's longtime fixer.

Novartis has said that Ehrat will retire as general counsel in the aftermath of the scandal, and will be replaced by Shannon Thyme Klinger, now chief ethics, risk, and compliance officer, effective June 1. But it said it learned the contract could only be canceled for cause and allowed it to expire in February. The president has denied the allegations.

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

But after Jimenez's people sat down with Cohen individually for the first time, "it was clear that he oversold his abilities", the former CEO said.

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Novartis CEO Narasimhan this week conducted a conference call with 5,000 managers in which he said the firm needed to re-examine its lobbying practices, Bloomberg said, citing a source close to the matter.

Jimenez said he had wanted to terminate the 12-month deal with Essential Communications as soon as he realised this was the case but decided against doing so because of potential legal costs involved - a decision he now considers a "mistake".

The case is under examination by the Greek and USA authorities.

The company said it met with Cohen only once - in March 2017. It said it believed that Cohen could advise the company on the Trump administration's approach to healthcare policies, including the Affordable Care Act.

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Novartis shareholders have urged Narasimhan to exert more "moral influence" over perceived ethical shortcomings that Jimenez in 2016 blamed on a "results-oriented" sales culture and some bad actors.

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