Partner of Trump's lawyer pleads guilty to felony tax fraud

Michael Cohen

Michael Cohen. Lucas Jackson Reuters

Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen was secretly paid at least $400,000 to set up a White House meeting between his boss and the Ukrainian president, it has been claimed.

Evgeny Freidman, 46, a Russian immigrant who co-owned a taxi medallion business with Cohen, agreed to plea guilty to felony tax fraud Tuesday for cheating the government out of millions of dollars in taxes from his taxi fleet, NY state's Acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood announced.

In a tweet, Cohen said that he and Freidman, known as the "Taxi King" of NY, "are not partners and have never been partners in this business or any other".

Freidman, when asked by Reuters about the report, declined in a text message to answer any questions about cooperating with prosecutors or the terms of his agreement.

Petro Poroshenko.   Gleb Garanich  Reuters
Petro Poroshenko. Gleb Garanich Reuters

On Tuesday, Freidman agreed to pay restitution and judgments totaling $5 million to NY state. In pleading guilty to a single count of criminal tax fraud, Freidman will be sentenced to five years' probation, the attorney general's office said.

Before Cohen's intervention, Ukrainian representatives were only able to get a brief photo op for the Ukrainian president - who has been openly critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin - with Mr. Trump. In 2015, Freidman put more than $60 million of his assets into offshore trusts with a trustee in Moscow, the prosecutor said. Freidman's cooperation only makes the chances of that stronger, the publication noted.

The Ukrainian investigation into Manafort did not end following the visit with Trump, according to the BBC, which said the file was passed on to the state prosecutor's office, where it did not move forward.

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

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Schlossberg was also caught on video in 2016 berating a man in NY , which he called an "ugly [expletive] foreigner". After Twitter got ahold of it, users did what they do best and discovered Schlossberg was a lawyer in the city.

The "Taxi King" could be flipping on his partner - and President Donald Trump's personal lawyer - Michael Cohen, in exchange for leniency in a $5 million fraud case, according to a report.

Trump's outside attorney, Rudy Giuliani, told Business Insider in a Wednesday phone interview that he had "no reason not to believe" Cohen.

"I greatly understand that and appreciate it", Michael Cohen's business partner replied.

Cohen is facing some legal troubles of his own.

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Last month, federal agents carried out search warrants at Mr. Cohen's home, his office and a hotel room where he was staying.

"He's just not involved in the taxis", said former NY mayor and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani.

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