Investigators probing President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen are focusing on more than $20 million in loans granted to taxi companies owned by the lawyer and his family, The New York Times reported Sunday.
Citing unnamed sources, the paper reported that investigators in New York are determining if Cohen, who is also being investigated for campaign finance violations, misrepresented his net worth to obtain the loans.
They are looking, in part, at a series of loans totaling more than $20 million obtained in December 2014 from Sterling National Bank and the Melrose Credit Union, the Times reported. Cohen and his family own several taxi medallions in New York, and investigators are also looking into how he reported the income from each business on his taxes.
Cohen, long known as Trump’s fixer, was one of the president’s closest allies for more than a decade until an investigation was opened earlier this year to determine if he had violated campaign finance laws by paying women who said they had affairs with Trump in exchange for their silence during the 2016 campaign.
In April, the FBI raided Cohen’s home, office and the hotel room where he was staying, obtaining 12 tapes for prosecutors featuring private conversations the former attorney had recorded with his associates. While Cohen argued the tapes were protected under attorney-client privilege, court-appointed special master Barbara S. Jones, a former judge who is overseeing the review of the materials, determined otherwise.
The president has since distanced himself from Cohen, a move that the attorney seems to have responded to by signaling he may be ready to make a deal with special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, in exchange for information.
In an interview with ABC News in July, Cohen said he was putting “family and country first.” His lawyer also said that Cohen was not seeking a pardon from Trump.
Last month, Cohen allowed the release of one of the tapes, in which Trump and the attorney are heard discussing a payment of money to Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model who said she had an affair with the president. Cohen also said that the president knew in advance about the Trump Tower meeting in June 2016, in which a Kremlin-linked lawyer offered the campaign damaging information on rival Hillary Clinton. Trump had long maintained that he had no prior knowledge of the meeting.
The Times also reported Sunday that sources said investigators were looking to wrap up the investigation into Cohen by the end of August ― and that charges may be near.