- The scope of the FBI’s raid on the offices of Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, reportedly includes a look at Cohen’s taxi businesses.
- Cohen reportedly took out a business loan using his three taxi companies as collateral.
- Cohen may already be under investigation for possible bank fraud, wire fraud, and campaign finance violations, according to a Washington Post report published earlier this week.
The scope of the FBI raid in which records from Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney, were seized includes a look at his taxi businesses that he previously used as collateral to take out a business loan, The Washington Post reported on Thursday.
As part of a wide-ranging FBI raid on Monday, agents sought records on transactions between Cohen and the New York-based Sterling National Bank. Cohen took out a business loan there in 2014, using his three taxi companies as collateral, The Post reported. The size of that business loan is not publicly known.
Although the medallions were worth more than $1 million in 2014, their values plummeted and are now worth about $300,000 today, due to the rise of ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft, which have siphoned off a significant portion of customers from traditional taxi companies.
According to a report from The Post published earlier this week, Cohen is being investigated for bank fraud, wire fraud and violations of election law. He has a long history in the taxi business that predates his work with the Trump Organization, but investigators apparently have an interest in learning about it as they get a clearer picture of his business dealings.
In addition to records of Cohen’s loan, the FBI also took records related to the $130,000 nondisclosure payment Cohen made to the adult-film actress, Stormy Daniels, shortly before the 2016 US presidential election. Investigators seized a computer, phone, personal financial records, and attorney-client communications.
“You could imagine a search warrant that describes that Michael Cohen got a loan from a bank to make a payment on Trump’s behalf and made misrepresentations to the bank about how the money would be used,” former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti told Bloomberg. “Investigators would want to know: did he get reimbursed by Trump, or did he discuss it with anybody?”
The FBI raid was initiated after a tip from the special counsel Robert Mueller, who is conducting the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election. However, the raid itself did not appear to be connected to special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, according to The New York Times.