President Donald Trump’s so-called “fixer” and personal attorney Michael Cohen is under investigation by the FBI for alleged shady business dealings. Among Cohen’s business deals includes $26 million in loans to a Ukraine- born taxi kingpin who is getting into the legal cannabis industry.
According to a report by the Associated Press, Semyon “Sam” Shtayner, a longtime associate of Michael Cohen’s father-in-law, created Nevada-based Cannaboss LLC the day before the 2016 election. In the story, AP reports:
“He personally manages over 500 taxi medallions, but he is looking to transition from the medallion business to the cannibas (sic),” according to the personal narrative Shtayner submitted last October to city officials in Henderson, Nevada, that was obtained by the AP under the state’s public records law.
It’s not clear whether Shtayner used any of the loans — $6 million of which have come directly from Cohen since 2014 — to finance his grow operation.
FBI agents searched Cohen’s hotel, office and home seeking banking records, as well as records related to his dealings in the taxi industry, people familiar with the probe told the AP, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation.
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Neither Cohen nor his attorney responded to phone messages or an email seeking comment about the loans. An attorney representing Shtayner had no comment.
Last year, Roger Stone, another associate of Trump, entered the legal cannabis business.
AP speculates that Shtayner has become disenchanted with his taxi empire as Uber and Lyft make inroads in major cities across the country. The value of taxi medallions has dropped in recent years from highs of over $1 million apiece in New York just a few years ago to nearly half that amount today.
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A former manager of Cohen’s taxi business is being sued by creditors for hiding assets in financial disclosures to his bank — including a luxury apartment in a Trump skyscraper. Another former cab manager of Cohen’s has declared bankruptcy and is facing criminal charges from state prosecutors in New York, who accuse him of pocketing nearly $5 million in taxes.
Cohen has a fleet of 22 cabs in Chicago and, along with his wife and father-in-law, has owned some 30 medallions in New York after initially going into business with his father-in-law, AP reports.