The company also said it has been questioned by special counsel Robert Mueller‘s team about the payments to Cohen.
NBC News reported later Wednesday that a senior Novartis official said that Cohen reached out shortly after Trump’s election “promising access” to the new administration.
Novartis said it signed a one-year contract with Cohen’s shell company, Essential Consultants, for $100,000 per month in February 2017, shortly after Trump was inaugurated as president.
Novartis said it believed Cohen “could advise the company as to how the Trump administration might approach certain U.S. health-care policy matters, including the Affordable Care Act.”
But just a month after signing the deal, Novartis executives had their first meeting with Cohen, and afterward “determined that Michael Cohen and Essentials Consultants would be unable to provide the services that Novartis had anticipated.”
But Novartis kept paying Cohen.
“As the contract, unfortunately, could only be terminated for cause, payments continued to be made until the contract expired by its own terms in February 2018,” Novartis said.
That means that Cohen was paid up to $1.2 million for his work.