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Cohen distances himself from tax-cheating "Taxi King"

26 May, 2018, 00:46 | Author: Carla Brady
  • Michael Cohen’s business partner may flip under plea deal

On Tuesday, Freidman agreed to pay restitution and judgments totaling $5 million to NY state.

United States president Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, received a secret payment of at least $400,000 (about €340,000) to arrange talks between Trump and Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko past year, the BBC reported on Wednesday.

Evgeny "Gene" Freidman, an immigrant from the former Soviet Union long known as the "taxi king" of NY, pleaded guilty to criminal tax fraud in Albany County Court.

"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".




The deal requires that he assist government prosecutors in state or federal investigations, the Times said. Material seized in those searches is being processed by a special master to prevent the disclosure of information covered by attorney-client privilege. Freidman, a business associate of President Trump's person attorney, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty Tuesday, May 22, 2018, to pocketing $5 million in passenger fees that were supposed to fund public transportation. Nearly every taxicab ride in the five boroughs is charged a 50-cent tax, money that helps fund the Metropolitan Transit Authority.

Freidman struggled financially as the value of taxi medallions plummeted. Freidman, who was reportedly disbarred earlier this month, had faced four counts of criminal tax fraud and one of grand larceny, each carrying a possible sentence of up to 25 years. Freidman later made bail. Judge Patrick Lynch asked Freidman during the proceeding at his Albany County court. "This is a very hard day for myself and my family", Freidman said to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, who read the statement out loud on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360".

His official says a "back channel" to Trump was established by an aide, who used contacts in a New York Jewish charity called the Port of Washington Chabad.

Cohen is under criminal investigation in the Southern District of NY. "I am humbled and shamed!" he said, adding that the guilty plea represented "me taking responsibility for my actions". Now, assuming Freidman makes good on his promise of cooperation, he will face a mere five years of probation for his many (alleged) felonies.

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