The Treasury Department’s inspector general is investigating the possible leak of confidential banking reports that may have contained information about payments made to a company controlled by Michael Cohen, a personal attorney of Donald Trump’s.
The inquiry was sparked by a New York Times story that reported that Essential Consultants LLC, a company set up by Cohen originally to make payments to Stormy Daniels, had been paid as much as $4.4 million by a number of companies shortly after the election of President Donald Trump, according to the inspector general’s counsel, Rich Delmar. That story was based on a “financial records reviewed by The New York Times.”
The Treasury investigation is focused on whether Suspicious Activity Reports filed by banks that hosted accounts for Cohen were improperly disseminated. Under the law, banks are required to report large banking transactions to regulators, but those reports are required by law to remain confidential.
News of the Treasury investigation was first reported by the Washington Post.
The payments to Cohen’s company were first revealed by the attorney for pornographic actress and exotic dancer Stephanie Clifford, who goes by the name Stormy Daniels professionally. They have since been confirmed by the companies involved, including AT&T, drugmaker Novartis, and a Russia-linked investment company called Columbus Nova.
All three companies have said they ended their relationship with Cohen when it became clear that he could not provide the information or services they expected.