The Real Deal New York

Michael Cohen now under investigation for tax fraud: report

Federal officials looking into taxi medallions
August 07, 2018 06:00PM

Michael Cohen (Credit: Getty Images)

As other probes into potential wrongdoing by Michael Cohen continue, federal authorities are now looking into whether President Trump’s former attorney committed tax fraud.

Prosecutors are looking into whether Cohen underreported income from his taxi medallion business in federal tax returns, the Wall Street Journal reported. Prosecutors are also examining his relationship with Sterling National Bank, which provided Cohen with financing for his taxi businesses.

The news comes just a few months after Cohen’s longtime business partner Evgeny “Gene” Freidman pleaded guilty to tax fraud, cutting a deal with prosecutors that requires him to cooperate with any ongoing investigations. Freidman previously managed Cohen’s 30-plus medallions in New York.

The prospect of fraud convictions could put extra pressure on Cohen to cooperate with authorities in other probes. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office are investigating Cohen’s role in hiding negative information about the president, including claims that he had sexual encounters with former Playboy model Karen McDougal and Stephanie Clifford, a former adult-film star. Trump has denied such claims.

Authorities are also looking into potential campaign-finance violations, bank fraud and other issues related to Cohen’s business interests.

Cohen recently bought a $6.7 million luxury condominium at Witkoff Group, Fisher Brothers and New Valley’s 111 Murray Street skyscraper in Tribeca. Developers, Steve Witkoff and Howard Lorber, provided financing for the deal. Last year, Cohen sold a home at Trump World Tower for $3.3 million. [WSJ] — Kathryn Brenzel