The government of Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko paid at least $400,000 to Michael Cohen, the personal lawyer of United States president Donald Trump, to arrange a meeting at the White House, according to a blockbuster report by the BBC, citing "sources in Kiev close to those involved".
Freidman, the chief executive officer of Taxi Club Management dubbed the "taxi king" of New York City, pleaded guilty before Judge Peter Lynch to resolve allegations he stole more than $5 million from the state and evaded taxes.
Cohen is being investigated for possible bank and tax fraud, possible campaign law violations linked to a hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, and perhaps other matters related to Trump's presidential campaign, a person familiar with the inquiry has said.
Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is leading the federal Russian Federation investigation, has also scrutinized Cohen's activities and business relationships.
Michael Cohen on Wednesday tried to distance himself from Gene Freidman, his former associate in the taxi business who is now cooperating with government prosecutors.
Freidman - the so-called Taxi King of NY who operated taxis for Cohen's family and others - will serve five years of probation for evading $50,000 in taxes.
A longtime business partner of Michael Cohen will reportedly cooperate with authorities to avoid jail time, further tightening the screws on President Donald Trump's embattled personal attorney and fixer.
His lawyer, Patrick Egan, said he was satisfied with the guilty plea. Together they managed Cohen's 32 taxi medallions.
"He's just not involved in the taxis", said former NY mayor and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani. Agents searched his home and office, as well as his hotel room, for documents last month, acting in part on a referral from Mueller's office.
He must pay half a million dollars in restitution within 30 days and pay another $500,000 on the day he's sentenced. "Our office will continue to hold accountable those who cheat the system". The senior Ukrainian intelligence official also told the BBC that Cohen was assisted by a former Trump business partner named Felix Sater, whose lawyer denied the story.
Freidman struggled financially as the value of taxi medallions plummeted.
The prosecutor said Freidman, a dual citizen of the United States and Russian Federation, owns two homes in the south of France where he often travels.