Trump lawyer met Russian oligarch shortly before inauguration

Cohen Talked Russian Relations With Kremlin-Tied Oligarch During Transition

Intrater's company Columbus Nova signed a $1 million consulting contract with Cohen later in January.

There is no indication that Mr. Vekselberg or Mr. Intrater is suspected of wrongdoing, and Mr. Intrater's lawyer, Richard Owens, said that "Columbus Nova has cooperated with all requests for documents and information from federal authorities". -Russian ties on January 9, 2017, in Cohen's Trump Tower office, just feet away from the president-elect.

Vekselberg, a billionaire who is said to be friendly with Russian President Vladimir Putin, is chairman of Russian asset manager Renova Group, a large conglomerate that owns stakes in the aluminum, oil, energy and the telecom sectors and is the parent company of Columbus Nova, the company that paid Cohen.

They sat together at one of the dinners on Inauguration Day and Intrater's $250,000 donation to the inaugural committee got him two tickets to the swearing-in ceremony, which he and Vekselberg attended.

The meetings and Columbus Nova's payments to Mr. Cohen have attracted scrutiny from Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the election, as well as federal prosecutors in Manhattan examining Mr. Cohen's business activities and finances, the people said.

The source, who asked for anonymity as private conversations were being discussed, confirmed the New York Times' account to Reuters by telephone.

Cohen and a lawyer for Intrater could not immediately be reached for comment. They also made arrangements to link up at the president's inauguration.

"Obviously, if I'd known in January 2017 that I was about to hire this high-profile guy who'd wind up in this big mess, I wouldn't have introduced him to my biggest client, and wouldn't have hired him at all", Intrater said. The meeting was brief, the person said, and Vekselberg was not originally expected to attend.

Intrater, a US citizen, donated $285,000 to Trump's Inauguration.

Separately, Cohen is under investigation by federal prosecutors in NY scrutinizing his business practices and his efforts to squash negative stories about Trump. Cohen had worked for a decade with the Trump Organization and served as a "fixer" to Trump, but Cohen was left without a role when assignments in the new administration were appointed.

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