July 27, 2018

Senators Question Columbus Nova & Korea Aerospace Industries on Shady Ties to Trump Personal Lawyer

New Information Raises Concerns about Corruption and Ties with Russia

Letter to Columbus Nova (PDF)

Letter to Korea Aerospace Industries (PDF)

 Washington, DC - United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.,) Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member, Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) today sent 45 questions to Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Columbus Nova about their business relationship with President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen. Earlier this month, the senators issued a report about Michael Cohen, Novartis, and his bid to sell access to the Trump Administration. This report contained new information about the relationship between Cohen and Columbus Nova.

Columbus Nova, linked to sanctioned Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, paid approximately $500,000 to Cohen's shell company, Essential Consultants. Essential Consultants was used to pay off at least one woman alleged to have had a personal relationship with President Trump. In their letter, the senators noted that Columbus Nova CEO Andrew Intrater is Vekeselberg's cousin - and Vekeselberg's company Renova Group is Columbus Nova's largest client.

Public reporting also indicates that Columbus Nova began paying Cohen in January 2017 and shortly after, Cohen worked with Ukrainian politician Andrii Artemenko to hand deliver a proposal for President Trump to lift sanctions on Russia to the office of then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. A report also indicates that Vekselberg planned to fund this effort through Columbus Nova. Both Vekselberg and Artemenko have reportedly been questioned by investigators for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating links between the Russian government and the 2016 campaign of Donald Trump.

KAI hired Cohen while it was involved in a major corruption scandal and trying to acquire a lucrative defense contract from the U.S. government. While Cohen was being paid by KAI, the company reportedly failed to disclose it was under investigation for corruption when it landed a U.S. Air Force contract worth up to $48 million. This raises questions about corruption and whether KAI may have been engaged in a pay-for-play operation with Cohen. KAI is currently a leading contender to receive a bigger $16 billion contract for more than 300 aircraft.

The senators asked 16 specific questions to KAI and 29 to Columbus Nova about their ties to Michael Cohen, President Trump, and the Trump Administration.