The Slatest

Qatari Investor Says Michael Cohen Told Him He Could Work With Trump Administration If He Paid Cohen $1 Million

Cohen enters a hotel.
Michael Cohen on Friday in New York City.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

There has been considerable hubbub in recent days involving a Qatari individual named Ahmed Al-Rumaihi. In 2016, Al-Rumaihi ran a $100 billion investment fund for the Qatari government; he’s reportedly now a private investor. Last week, an estranged American business partner of Al-Rumaihi’s made an explosive claim in a court filing: that Al-Rumaihi had bragged to him, in vague terms, that former national security adviser Michael Flynn had taken a Qatari government bribe. Over the weekend, Stormy Daniels lawyer Michael Avenatti tweeted images that show Al-Rumaihi with Trump lawyer Michael Cohen at Trump Tower on Dec. 12 , 2016, a day that Flynn was also present for presidential transition meetings.

Al-Rumaihi has now surfaced and, in an interview with the Intercept, says he didn’t bribe Flynn—but that Cohen did ask him for a personal $1 million “fee” as a prerequisite for Qatari participation in a Trump administration infrastructure initiative that never came to fruition. Here’s Al-Rumahi’s description of Cohen’s pitch, which he says took place at a restaurant in a New York hotel in the week before Dec. 12:

When Al-Rumaihi asked Cohen more generally about important projects that the investment fund should back, Cohen said there were plenty of options. But Cohen said he would need $1 million first as part of his fee, Al-Rumaihi told The Intercept. … Al-Rumaihi said he did not pay Cohen, and Cohen’s since-revealed account ledger includes no payment from Al-Rumaihi or any companies connected to him.

Part of his fee. Bold!

As the Intercept alludes to, Al-Rumaihi’s claim is particularly interesting given the recent revelation that Cohen received several sizable payments for “consulting”—payments that were made to a firm that does not appear to have had employees or an office—from a number of major companies in the wake of Trump’s inauguration.

Among the reasons that Al-Rumaihi’s alleged comment about paying Flynn has raised eyebrows, meanwhile, is an accusation in the infamous and unverified “Steele dossier” that Russia may have funneled money toward Donald Trump via a “brokerage fee” related to the sale of a stake of the Russian company Rosneft to Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund. Al-Rumaihi, however, says he didn’t have anything to do with the Rosneft-Qatar transaction and that the the Flynn bribery accusation was totally fabricated by his estranged partner, BIG3 basketball league promoter Jeff Kwatinetz, as leverage in their legal dispute.

Also, Cohen denies asking Al-Rumaihi for money. So, as with so many things these days, someone here is lying—possibly everyone!—but we don’t know who, and may never know. Have a nice night!