Michael Cohen's ex-business partner agrees to cooperate in federal probe

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Michael Avenatti, the attorney for the adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, who is engaged in a legal battle against Trump, told the BBC that "Suspicious Activity Reports" filed by Cohen's bank to the US Treasury Department showed money from Ukrainian interests.

Evgeny "Gene" Freidman, the flamboyant 46-year-old "Taxi King" of NY and a perennial tabloid muse, has been sued for ripping off drivers, spent time last year in a Chicago prison, and once faced criminal charges for slamming his now ex-wife against a wall.

Freidman pleaded guilty Tuesday to pocketing $5 million in passenger fees that were supposed to fund public transportation.

In mid-April the New York Post reported that Cohen once rented Ivanka and Jared Kushners Park Avenue apartment to the Taxi King.

Seth Wenig  AP file President Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen walks down the sidewalk in New York
Seth Wenig AP file President Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen walks down the sidewalk in New York

The President's lawyers are already resigned to the strong possibility that the inquiry into Mr Cohen's businesses could lead him to cooperate with federal prosecutors. The person wasn't authorized to publicly discuss it and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

It handed off the case to the state prosecutor's office, the BBC reports.

Freidman pleaded guilty in Albany to one count of evading $50,000 worth of taxes.

The Ukrainian president wanted to meet with Trump to clear the air over the 2016 presidential campaign.

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"Today, the "Taxi King" admitted that he built his empire by stealing from New Yorkers", New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood said in a statement Tuesday.

Though sources confirmed the arrangement was made, discrepancies surfaced over the amount that Cohen was paid. "Friedman pocketed money that should have provided much-needed investment in our transit system and he'll now have to pay back every cent".

Cohen is under "criminal investigation" by the United States attorney in Manhattan.

Despite this, Poroshenko was frustrated by Cohen, as he initially had great trouble nailing down a lengthy meeting with the president.

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Giuliani, who met with Poroshenko in Ukraine late a year ago, said he did not know anything of such payments to Cohen and said he was still getting caught up on the story. "Gene Freidman and I are not partners and have never been partners in this business or any other". One such report found that Felix Sater, a member of the Port Washington Chabad and its 2010 and 2014 "man of the year", had met with Cohen in January 2017 to orchestrate an end to the sanctions.

Friedman's attorney, Patrick Egan, declined to discuss whether Friedman's plea spells trouble for Cohen. But I'm willing to bet that Mr. Friedman, here, the guy who entered the plea deal, I'm willing to bet he knows.

In a text message to a reporter for the New York Daily News, Friedman denied he flipped on his friend in exchange for leniency.

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