Michael Cohen’s Shady Business Partner Agrees to Cooperate With the Feds


Disbarred New York City attorney and businessman Evgeny "Gene" Freidman, an associate of President Donald J. Trump's longtime lawyer Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty Tuesday to felony tax fraud in Albany County Court in a deal that reportedly requires he cooperate in state and federal investigations.

Freidman, otherwise known as the "Taxi King," is a Russian immigrant who has been a partner with Cohen within the NY taxi industry for several years.

Freidman was Cohen's partner in the taxi medallion business, which suffered huge losses due to the impact of competitors like Uber and Lyft.

Freidman, when asked by Reuters about the report, declined in a text message to answer any questions about cooperating with prosecutors or the terms of his agreement. And so the government chose to let Freidman plead guilty to a single count of evading $50,000 in taxes.

Avenatti was pushing earlier for the release of those additional SARs, one of which is said to cover the time frame when the Ukrainian visit to the White House took place.

Freidman's generous plea deal could add pressure on Cohen to cooperate with authorities.

According to the BBC, several sources in Ukraine said Poroshenko, believing that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was sure to win the presidency, had authorised the leak of a document published by the New York Times in August 2016 that appeared to show that Paul Manafort, Trump's presidential campaign manager, had received millions of dollars from pro-Russian interests in Ukraine.

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The Ukrainian MP was later put in touch with Cohen after using personal contacts at a Jewish charity in NY.

Freidman, 46, was once the largest operator of taxi medallions, owning about 800 of the plates that allow taxis to operate in NY, and had helped bring Cohen into the taxi business. Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani later admitted that Trump had repaid Cohen.

Freidman has also been sued for other shady business acts.

"I am one of thousands of medallion owners who entrust management companies to operate my medallions according to the rules of the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission", Cohen tweeted.

Around the same time, ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft began to dominate the NY livery scene and yellow-cab medallions rapidly lost value.

Last month, federal agents carried out search warrants at Mr. Cohen's home, his office and a hotel room where he was staying. And that's why I've said repeatedly that I think ultimately he's going to flip on the president of the United States.