The Treasury Department’s inspector general is investigating how Stormy Daniels’s lawyer Michael Avenatti obtained confidential banking records concerning a company controlled by President Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.
The inspector general’s counsel, Rich Delmar, said that the office is looking into allegations that Suspicious Activity Reports filed about Cohen’s banking transactions were “improperly disseminated,” according to the Post.
Avenatti on Tuesday went public with detailed claims about Cohen’s banking history, including allegations that he received $500,000 from a company controlled by a Russian oligarch in the months following the 2016 presidential election.
The payment was, according to Avenatti, deposited in an account for a company that was also used to pay Daniels $130,000 as part of her non-disclosure agreement weeks before the 2016 vote.
Avenatti also revealed that AT&T, the Swiss drug company Novartis, and aircraft manufacturer Korea Aerospace Industries — all of which had business considerations with the federal government — had made payments to Cohen. The companies later confirmed the payments, which are under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Avenatti refused to reveal his source for this information and said investigators should reveal the Suspicious Activity Reports filed on Cohen’s account.
Such reports are filed if an unusual transaction of over $10,000 is made, and experts told the Post that Avenatti’s information could have come from a report filed by Cohen’s bank.
Banks often file such reports to detect for money laundering or other illegal behavior.
Cohen’s bank, First Republic, declined the Post’s request for comment.