The payment was arranged by Poroshenko’s aids, the sources said, but both Cohen and the Ukraine presidency denied the allegations. Cohen was not registered as a representative of Ukraine as required by US law.
The alleged payment came in advance of a White House meeting last year in June between Trump and Poroshenko. “Shortly after” the meeting, the BBC said Ukraine’s anti-corruption agency ended their investigation into Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort.
A high-ranking Ukrainian intelligence officer in Poroshenko’s administration has confirmed the details surrounding the meeting. Because Ukraine’s registered lobbyists and embassy in Washington DC could not secure little more than a brief photo-opportunity with the US president, Poroshenko called in Cohen.
Trump may not have known about the alleged payment, but Poroshenko did. A “loyal Ukrainian MP” used his contacts in New York State to approach Cohen. A second source in Kiev confirmed the BBC report, but put Cohen’s payment for arranging the meeting at much higher: $600 000.
It has surfaced in the Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) filed by Cohen’s bank with the US Treasury, that he had indeed received money from “Ukrainian interests”.
The senior intelligence official in Kiev said Cohen worked together with Felix Sater, a convicted former mobster who was once Trump’s business partner, but Sater’s lawyer denied the allegations.
After the visit, Poroshenko boasted that he had seen the American president even before Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin did. He called it a “substantial visit” even though it was very short. But according to sources, the Ukrainian side were very angry, because Cohen was paid “hundreds of thousands” while he was unable to arrange a longer meeting.
A week after Poroshenko had returned to Kiev, Ukraine’s National Anti Corruption Bureau announced that the Manafort investigation aimed against Trump, had been called off. The Ukrainian president’s office however issued a statement calling the report a “blatant lie, slander and fake”.