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Novartis' top lawyer resigned after payments to Michael Cohen



Novartis' top lawyer is expected to retire after the pharmaceutical giant made payments to President Trump's personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen.

In a statement, Novartis, the group's general counsel, Felix R. Ehrat, will be replaced in early June by Shannon Thyme Klinger, who is currently the company's chief ethics officer. Mr. Ehrat resigned "in the context of discussions surrounding Novartis' earlier agreement with Essential Consultants, which belongs to Michael Cohen," said the pharmaceutical company.

"Although the contract was legally in order, it was a mistake," said Mr Ehrat. "As a co-signer of our former C.E.O., I take the personal responsibility to end the public debate on this issue."

Mr. Ehrat, a practicing lawyer in Switzerland, has been Group General Counsel at Novartis since 2011.

Novartis said that its former Chief Executive, Joe Jimenez, has reached an agreement in agreement with Mr. Cohen. In this approach, the new administration would take on issues of interest to Novartis, especially in healthcare. The company said that after a first meeting with Mr Cohen last March, it had concluded that it did not have the expertise it hoped for and decided not to pursue the agreement. But it said that the contract could only be canceled for cause and could expire in February.

Since revelations about the relationship last Tuesday, Novartis has been trying to tell his new general manager, Vas Narasimhan, of the controversy, that the decision to hire Mr. Cohen had been taken by Mr. Jimenez and that Mr. Narasimhan had no Role had played. Mr. Jimenez retired from the company in January.

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Felix R. Ehrat, group leader for Swiss pharmaceutical manufacturer Novartis. He said that while the company's contract with the personal lawyer of President Trump Michael D. Cohen was legal, the arrangement was "a mistake." Credit Anthony Anex / Epa – Efe, on Rex, on Shutterstock

. Emagazine.credit-suisse.com/app/art … = 263 & lang = DE In a letter to the coworkers of the past week Narasimhan called the deal a "mistake" that led the company to be criticized "by a world that expected more from us."

Mr. Jimenez did not respond to requests for comment.

Novartis said that Robert S. Mueller III, the Special Adviser investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, contacted them last November to inquire about the relationship with Mr. Cohen. The company co-operated the investigation and considers his role as closed. Since last week, several Democratic Senators, including Massachusetts's Elizabeth Warren, Connecticut's Richard Blumenthal, Oregon's Ron Wyden, and Washington's Patty Murray, have sent letters to Novarti demanding more information about the deal.

Also, the telecommunications giant AT & T has recognized Mr. Cohen $ 600,000 for a similar agreement. AT & T called the deal a "big mistake" and said last week that Washington's top lobbyist would leave.


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