Michael Cohen distances himself from tax-cheating 'Taxi King'

  • Michael Cohen distances himself from tax-cheating 'Taxi King'

Michael Cohen distances himself from tax-cheating 'Taxi King'

That likelihood may now be greater, with Freidman potentially sharing what he knows with federal prosecutors in NY and the special counsel. He's a Russian immigrant who once owned over 800 taxi medallions.

Mr Cohen, who was not registered as a representative of Ukraine, was brought in because Ukraine's registered lobbyists and its embassy in Washington could get Mr Poroshenko little more than a photo op with Mr Trump while the Ukrainian leader, "needed something that could be portrayed as "talks", the broadcaster reported. Special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the federal Russian Federation investigation, has also scrutinized Cohen's activities and business relationships.

That legal pressure on Cohen appeared to increase on Tuesday, after Freidman cut his plea deal with investigators. He will also be required to pay $5 million to the state of NY.

MEANWHILE, on Earth 2, the investigation into Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen continues apace. Last month, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents searched his home, office and hotel room.

Cohen denied on Twitter Wednesday that he was partners with Freidman "in this business or any other".

Yet other members of Trump's legal team argue that Cohen is less involved with Freidman than it seems.

Mr. Freidman has been Mr. Cohen's partner in the taxi business for years, managing cabs for him even after New York City regulators barred Mr. Freidman last year from continuing to manage medallions.

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

There was no indication Trump knew about the payment to Cohen.

The value of a taxi medallion reached a high of $1.2 million each in 2014, but their value has slumped to about $300,000 amid the rise of ride-hailing services such as Uber.

The charges last June alleged Freidman and his chief financial officer, Andrea Dumitru, 42, of Queens, ran a scheme to withhold the funds by improperly filing or failing to file returns, failing to pay the tax on filed returns and by filing false returns.

"I plead guilty to a felony", Freidman said in a statement to The Times. Instead, he filed false tax returns created to hide the theft, they said.

"That's it!" he texted the journalist, according to the Times, apparently objecting to the paper's report on the implications his guilty plea could have on the FBI's Cohen probe.

At that time, Lynch ordered Freidman held on $500,000 bail on a five-count indictment accusing him and Dumitru of first-degree criminal tax fraud and first-degree grand larceny, which carried the possibility of 81/3 to 25 years in prison.

"He's just not involved in the taxis", said former NY mayor and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani. "Our office will continue to hold accountable those who cheat the system".