Amid recent reports that President Donald Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen used a shell company, Essential Consultants, to receive payments from major U.S. companies as well as a firm tied to a Russian oligarch, a new article in The New Yorker states Morgan Stanley’s wealth management division flagged troublesome transactions in Cohen’s personal accounts.
The New Yorker recently spoke to a government official, who leaked suspicious activity reports filed with the government by First Republic Bank, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and City National Bank.
The official leaked the reports after becoming concerned that he couldn’t find two of the First Republic SARs in the government database. Those SARs included transactions totaling more than $3 million.
About $1 million of that money ended up in Cohen’s personal accounts at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, the publication reports. The firm’s SAR allegedly found that Cohen deposited three checks from his Essential Consultants account.
“Morgan Stanley Smith Barney marked those transactions, which added up to more than a million dollars, as possible signs of ‘bribery or gratuity’ and ‘suspicious use of third-party transactors (straw-man),’” The New Yorker says.
Financial institutions are required to file suspicious activity reports with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a unit of the U.S. Treasury Department, when firms suspect money laundering or fraud.
A spokeswoman for Morgan Stanley did not respond to a request for comment.