After Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti disclosed last week a number of previously unknown payments to President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen by companies including AT&T and Novartis, The Washington Post is reporting that the FBI is investigating the payment made by Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) to Cohen who is now facing numerous questions about his questionable business dealings.
Mark Ko, a translator for the meetings between Cohen and KAI told the newspaper that he was interviewed by FBI agents “a few weeks ago,” meaning that the federal bureau was already on the case before Avenatti’s disclosure of the financial details of the business deal.
While Ko refused to offer details of the substance of his questioning, he did indicate that he did not know if the agents were part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation or not.
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The deal with KAI could be problematic since the company, like AT&T and Novartis, has significant business interests at stake in front of the U.S. government. In KAI’s case, the company, which is controlled by the South Korean Government, has partnered with Lockheed Martin to bid on a $16 billion contract to provide trainer jets to the U.S. Air Force.
KAI ostensibly hired Cohen for legal advice regarding U.S. accounting procedures required by government contracts. Cohen, however, has no experience with government accounting procedures, having spent his career as a personal injury attorney (or an ambulance chaser, as they are popularly known), a real estate lawyer, and President Trump’s “fixer.”
Ko’s involvement as a translator for meetings between Cohen and KAI was minor he says.
“My role as translator was small in this,” he told The Washington Post.
While Ko acted as Cohen’s translator, he met with a KAI lawyer who had his own translator as well. He confirmed that their discussions did revolve around accounting issues.
The involvement of Ko ends a lingering question posed in one of the many tweets Michael Avenatti sent out last week.
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) May 11, 2018
Demeter Direct, registered in California as a retail Korean food business, is the company used by Ko to be paid for his translation work. While that payment seems to be a legitimate business expense, the question remains as to why a Korean military contractor would be hiring Cohen for accounting expertise he doesn’t possess.
Could this be a pay for play scheme that Avenatti has exposed? FBI investigators are mum at this point as the probe into Cohen’s finances continues.
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