U.S. Markets closed

Top Novartis Lawyer Exits Over the $1.2 Million It Paid to Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen

David Meyer

The top lawyer at Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Novartis has fallen on his sword over the company’s payments to U.S. President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

Felix Ehrat, Novartis’s group general counsel, said in a Wednesday statement that although the company’s $100,000-per-month contract with Cohen was legal, “it was an error.”

Overall, Novartis paid Cohen $1.2 million, ostensibly to learn more about the Trump administration’s policy-making. It said last week that, although it quickly realized Cohen was “unable to provide the service that Novartis had anticipated,” it continued to pay him until the contract--signed by Ehrat and former Novartis chief Joe Jimenez--expired in February this year.

“As a co-signatory with our former CEO, I take personal responsibility to bring the public debate on this matter to an end,” Ehrat said Wednesday. He will retire at the start of June, to be replaced by current Novartis ethics chief Shannon Thyme Klinger.

Ehrat’s retirement echoes that last week of of AT&T’s top lobbyist, Bob Quinn, who had responsibility for that company’s hiring of Cohen and his Essential Consultants vehicle.

Apart from AT&T and Novartis, Cohen was also paid by Korea Aerospace Industries and Columbus Nova, a New York investment firm whose biggest client is Renova Group, a conglomerate owned by U.S.-sanctioned, Kremlin-backed Russian oligarch Victor Vekselberg.

Novartis’s payments to Cohen have reportedly aroused the interest of Swiss public prosecutors, although there are currently no criminal proceedings underway.

Jimenez told Bloomberg that Cohen had “oversold his abilities” in being able to explain the then-new Trump administration’s position on healthcare issues. He said the company continued to pay him because it feared litigation over a premature termination of the agreement.

“We should have just definitively parted ways with this guy as soon as we knew he was not going to be a help,” said Jimenez, who claimed Cohen told him he no longer worked for Trump at the time of the contract’s signing.

Earlier this week, Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren, Richard Blumenthal and Ron Wyden wrote to the CEOs of AT&T and Novartis suggesting that their companies’ payments to Cohen “raise obvious questions about corruption.”

According to Bloomberg, Jimenez’s successor, Vas Narasimhan, has told Novartis’s managers that the company needs to “rethink its approach to the use of consultants and lobbying firms.”

See original article on Fortune.com

More from Fortune.com

  • Finance
    CNBC

    Morgan Stanley: The stock sell-off is going to get worse

    The stock market is in the middle of a rolling bear market, says Morgan Stanley's Mike Wilson. "It's being caused by a drain in liquidity and peaking growth," Wilson says. The stock market sell-off is only going to get worse, predicts Morgan Stanley's chief U.S. equity strategist, Mike Wilson.

  • Why New Age Beverage Corp. Stock Popped Today
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Why New Age Beverage Corp. Stock Popped Today

    Shares of New Age Beverage Corp. (NASDAQ: NBEV) were climbing again today, riding a surge on marijuana stocks as growers like Tilray, Cronos Group, and Canopy Growth all jumped by double digits. Along with the bullish sentiment in the industry, a number of other factors seemed to be driving New Age shares higher, including the recent hiring of a new CFO, the upcoming legalization of recreational marijuana in Canada on Wednesday, and the market's reaction to its launch last week of a new line of beverages infused with cannabidiol (CBD). On Friday, New Age named Gregory Gould as its new CFO, a notable move as Gould brings experience from the pharmaceutical industry, which should help the beverage company as it moves into CBD products.

  • These are the bad things about early retirement that no one talks about
    News
    MarketWatch

    These are the bad things about early retirement that no one talks about

    For all the glamour of living an early retirement lifestyle, there are plenty of negatives I’ve come to discover since I permanently left my job in 2012. As a result, you’re repeatedly forced to will yourself into action.

  • Alphabet (GOOGL) Dips More Than Broader Markets: What You Should Know
    Business
    Zacks

    Alphabet (GOOGL) Dips More Than Broader Markets: What You Should Know

    Heading into today, shares of the internet search leader had lost 5.21% over the past month, outpacing the Computer and Technology sector's loss of 5.44% and lagging the S&P 500's loss of 4.1% in that time. GOOGL will be looking to display strength as it nears its next earnings release, which is expected to be October 25, 2018. On that day, GOOGL is projected to report earnings of $10.50 per share, which would represent year-over-year growth of 9.72%.

  • Elizabeth Warren Calls on Trump to Pay $1 Million After Releasing DNA Test
    Politics
    Fortune

    Elizabeth Warren Calls on Trump to Pay $1 Million After Releasing DNA Test

    Elizabeth Warren is ready for her pay day. The senator from Massachusetts took to Twitter Monday morning, calling on President Donald Trump to cough up the $1 million he promised if she proved she had Native American heritage.

  • Goldman Sachs and Raymond James cut Netflix price target ahead of earnings
    Business
    Yahoo Finance Video

    Goldman Sachs and Raymond James cut Netflix price target ahead of earnings

    Netflix getting its price target slashed by both Goldman Sachs and Raymond James ahead of its highly expected earnings report tomorrow. Both firms are concerned that rising interest rates could pinch the company’s valuation.

  • Sears bankruptcy could make these 5 big companies multi-million-dollar losers
    Finance
    Yahoo Finance

    Sears bankruptcy could make these 5 big companies multi-million-dollar losers

    Being an unsecured creditor of Sears (SHLD) right now is not a good place to be. The 125-year old former retail icon filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection early on Monday, crippled from years of losses and mounting debt. Sears plans to close about

  • Why Marijuana Stocks Canopy Growth, Cronos Group, and Tilray Crushed It Today
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Why Marijuana Stocks Canopy Growth, Cronos Group, and Tilray Crushed It Today

    The three Canadian marijuana stocks that currently trade on major U.S. stock exchanges enjoyed big gains on Monday. Shares of Canopy Growth (NYSE: CGC) were up 14% as of 3:48 p.m. EDT, while Cronos Group (NASDAQ: CRON) and Tilray (NASDAQ: TLRY) jumped 18.9% and 12.1%, respectively. Two of the three marijuana growers reported new developments earlier in the day.

  • Brits Are All Making the Same Joke About the New Royal Baby
    World
    Time

    Brits Are All Making the Same Joke About the New Royal Baby

    Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, is expecting her first child with Prince Harry. The news, announced Monday morning by Kensington Palace, has already been greeted by hundreds of messages of congratulations for the royal couple on social media. The U.K. is set to leave the European Union on March 29, exactly two years after Prime Minister Theresa May started the formal process for doing so by invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

  • Why Occidental Petroleum, Nutrisystem, and Carvana Slumped Today
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Why Occidental Petroleum, Nutrisystem, and Carvana Slumped Today

    Monday saw a disappointing session on Wall Street, as most popular stock indexes lost ground to begin the week. Despite a nice bounce on Friday, investors still seem to be worried about the big declines that came in the middle of last week, and skittishness among market participants has heightened awareness of any imperfection among key companies. Occidental Petroleum (NYSE: OXY), Nutrisystem (NASDAQ: NTRI), and Carvana (NYSE: CVNA) were among the worst performers on the day.

  • As Cannabis D-Day Approaches, Winners and Losers Set to Emerge
    Business
    Bloomberg

    As Cannabis D-Day Approaches, Winners and Losers Set to Emerge

    After Canada legalizes recreational marijuana on Oct. 17, it will only take a quarter or two for clear winners and losers to emerge, according to investors and analysts who follow the sector. “These have all been concept stocks and they’re going to actually have to be real companies in another few months, which I think a lot of guys are terrified about,” said Greg Taylor, who manages the Purpose Marijuana Opportunities Fund. Taylor prefers CannTrust Holdings Inc., Hexo Corp. and Organigram Holdings Inc., which he says trade at a “more realistic valuation” than some of their bigger peers.

  • Many U.S. mall owners say good riddance to Sears
    Finance
    Reuters

    Many U.S. mall owners say good riddance to Sears

    The real estate investment trusts that own the malls and shopping centers where many Sears stores are anchor tenants have waited years for the retailer's demise to renovate the sites and boost rent, although redevelopment costs may strain some plans. Most large U.S. malls are controlled by REITs. In recent years, the REITs have cut their exposure to Sears Holdings Corp, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday.

  • 2 Hot Marijuana Stocks Listing Soon on U.S. Exchanges -- Are They Buys?
    Business
    Motley Fool

    2 Hot Marijuana Stocks Listing Soon on U.S. Exchanges -- Are They Buys?

    Two marijuana stocks that are currently listed on Canadian stock exchanges soon plan also to list on U.S. stock exchanges. Aurora Cannabis (NASDAQOTH: ACBFF) (TSX: ACB) expects to trade on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) by the end of October and Aleafia Health (NASDAQOTH: ALEAF) should soon trade on the Nasdaq stock exchange. Are these hot marijuana stocks that are coming soon to U.S. stock exchanges smart picks to buy now?

  • Business
    Benzinga

    Johnson & Johnson Q3 Earnings Preview

    Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) announces its next round of earnings Tuesday. Here is Benzinga's everything-that-matters guide for the Q3 earnings announcement. Earnings and Revenue Based on management's projections, Johnson & Johnson analysts model for

  • Saudi Arabia Breaks 45-Year Taboo With Veiled Threat to Use Oil as a Weapon
    World
    Bloomberg

    Saudi Arabia Breaks 45-Year Taboo With Veiled Threat to Use Oil as a Weapon

    While few think that Saudi Arabia is prepared to follow through, even the suggestion of using oil as a weapon undermines Riyadh’s long-standing effort to project itself as a force for economic stability. The anxieties were exacerbated by an opinion piece penned by Turki Al Dakhil, who heads the state-owned Arabiya news network and is close to the Royal Court, in which he openly talked about using oil as a weapon.

  • This Is the Average American's Salary. How Does Yours Compare?
    Business
    Motley Fool

    This Is the Average American's Salary. How Does Yours Compare?

    In an age of oversharing, many of us are remarkably tight-lipped when it comes to talking salary. But in reality, knowing where you stand can help you determine whether you're in a good place or whether you should be taking steps to boost your earnings

  • Warren Buffett predicted the fall of Eddie Lampert and Sears over 10 years ago (SHLD, BRK.A, BRK.B)
    Finance
    Business Insider

    Warren Buffett predicted the fall of Eddie Lampert and Sears over 10 years ago (SHLD, BRK.A, BRK.B)

    Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy early Monday, the culmination of a downward spiral. CEO Eddie Lampert, once called the "next Warren Buffett," will also step down. Incidentally, Buffett predicted the retailer's and Lampert's downfall in 2005.

  • Marijuana stocks to watch: Canopy Growth is the cannabis business’s $4 billion gorilla
    Business
    MarketWatch

    Marijuana stocks to watch: Canopy Growth is the cannabis business’s $4 billion gorilla

    The following article is part of a package of stories that MarketWatch is publishing to mark the start of full legalization of cannabis for adult use in Canada on Wednesday. Smith Falls, Ontario–based Canopy Growth Corp. made headlines and drove cannabis stocks to new heights over the summer when it announced that Corona brewer Constellation Brands Inc. was going to invest an additional $4 billion in the company. Billed by both companies as a strategic partnership, the additional $4 billion investment adds to the 9.9% stake that Constellation bought in October of last year and sets the company up to either be bought outright by Constellation — via warrants that could increase its stake to more than 50% — or continue to work with the beverage company to create a range of consumer-focused cannabis products that may one day appear in markets in dozens of countries.

  • Finance
    TheStreet.com

    Monday Madness: Is Nvidia a Hit or Miss?

    TheStreet's Julie Iannuzzi covered Jim Cramer's investing boot camp. Nvidia (NVDA - Get Report) has long been a favorite of TheStreet's founder and Action Alerts Plus Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer, but he told a packed audience Saturday at his Boot Camp for Investors in New York why his charitable trust recently sold out of the stock.

  • The Worst Mistake Tilray Investors Can Make Right Now
    Business
    Motley Fool

    The Worst Mistake Tilray Investors Can Make Right Now

    Tilray (NASDAQ: TLRY) investors have certainly seen plenty of opportunities to mess up lately, especially with the stock experiencing huge swings both up and down on a frequent basis. When Tilray conducted its initial public offering (IPO) back in July 2018, the company immediately became the third-largest Canadian marijuana stock in terms of market cap. Although Canopy briefly regained its mantle as the marijuana stock with the greatest market cap, Tilray is again on top.

  • Why Marijuana Stocks Cronos Group, Canopy Growth, and Tilray Jumped Today
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Why Marijuana Stocks Cronos Group, Canopy Growth, and Tilray Jumped Today

    The stock market pulled back on Monday, with major benchmarks failing to build on the positive momentum from last Friday. Cronos Group (NASDAQ: CRON), Canopy Growth (NYSE: CGC), and Tilray (NASDAQ: TLRY) were among the best performers. All three of these stocks have something in common: They all stand to benefit from Wednesday's effective date for legal sales of recreational cannabis product in Canada.

  • Better Marijuana Stock: Aurora Cannabis vs. Auxly Cannabis Group
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Better Marijuana Stock: Aurora Cannabis vs. Auxly Cannabis Group

    One is market cap: Aurora's market cap is nearly 18 times bigger than Auxly's. Then there's stock performance. Here's how Aurora Cannabis and Auxly Cannabis Group stack up against each other in the areas that do matter.

  • It’s Official -- These 5 Social Security Changes Are Coming for 2019
    Business
    Motley Fool

    It’s Official -- These 5 Social Security Changes Are Coming for 2019

    For workers, Social Security's maximum taxable earnings are increasing, and more income will be required to earn a Social Security "credit." Beneficiaries who claimed Social Security early and still work will be happy to learn they'll be able to earn more without a benefit reduction in 2019, and for high earners, the maximum possible Social Security benefit is also on the rise. With all of that in mind, here are the recently released details of these five 2019 Social Security changes. As I mentioned, Social Security beneficiaries are getting a 2.8% COLA starting with their January 2019 benefit payment.

  • Is This High-Flying Marijuana Stock the Next Tilray?
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Is This High-Flying Marijuana Stock the Next Tilray?

    Since then, Tilray's share price has skyrocketed to well over six times its opening-day level. At one point, Tilray was up a whopping 856% -- in just two months of trading. Now there's another marijuana stock that is beginning to turn heads.