Private equity firm Columbus Nova has responded to allegations made by Stormy Daniels’ lawyer that it routed payments to President Donald Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, in 2017.
The firm released a statement on its website late Wednesday, May 9, acknowledging that it hired Cohen as a business consultant after the inauguration “regarding potential sources of capital and potential investments in real estate and other ventures.”
According to a memo released by Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, on May 8, Columbus Nova, along with other companies — including AT&T, Korea Aerospace Industries, and health care giant Novartis — made payments to Cohen, who is now under scrutiny for a payment to Daniels, an adult film actress who says she had a relationship with Trump.
Avenatti detailed alleged transactions with Essential Consultants, the company Cohen used to pay Daniels, in his memo.
“Chief among these suspicious financial transactions are approximately $500,000 in payments received from Mr. Viktor Vekselberg, a Russian oligarch with an estimated net worth of nearly $13 billion,” according to the memo. “Mr. Vekselberg and his cousin Mr. Andrew Intrater routed eight payments to Mr. Cohen through a company named Columbus Nova LLC beginning in January 2017 and continuing until at least August 2017.”
Intrater is the chief executive officer of Columbus Nova, and has been since 2000, according to the firm’s website. He did not return a phone call seeking comment on his relationship with Vekselberg.
However, the statement released by Columbus Nova Wednesday called allegations of Vekselberg’s involvement in the payments “patently untrue.”
Columbus Nova was founded in 2000 and is based in New York City. The group, according to its website, has a broad investment mandate and invests across asset classes, including senior secured debt and equity.
Columbus Nova also oversees two businesses. Columbus Nova MB, which, its website said, offers principal investing, financial advisory services, and an alternative investments platform. Most of Columbus Nova MB’s investments include real estate and financial services offerings.
Columbus Nova Technology Partners is a multi-stage technology company that has invested in assets like Napster, a music streaming service, and the Gawker Media Group, according to its website.
Columbus Nova did not return a phone call and multiple emails seeking comment beyond the statement released on its website. Avenatti’s law firm did not return a phone call seeking comment.