Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman confirmed on Wednesday he had received an email in January last year from an adviser to Donald Trump about a Moscow real estate project, but said he had neither replied nor discussed it with Putin.
The Washington Post reported this week that Michael Cohen, one of Trump’s closest business advisers, had emailed Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, seeking his help in advancing a stalled Trump Tower development project in Moscow.
Trump was running to become president at the time.
Peskov, answering questions about the matter on a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, said he had seen the email among many others he said he received every day, but had not responded to it because the request was not the kind of thing he dealt with in his job as Kremlin spokesman.
“I can confirm that among the mass of e-mails there was an e-mail from Mr. Michael Cohen. This really happened,” said Peskov.
He said Cohen had written about “a certain Russian company and certain people” who wanted to build a skyscraper in Moscow and wanted his help in making the stalled project a reality.
But Peskov said the request was off topic and that responding to it fell outside his job description.
“Because we do not react to such (questions about) business themes, and this is not our job, we left this matter without a response,” said Peskov.
He said the Kremlin had not received any other similar requests on the subject and that he had not raised the subject of Cohen’s original email with Putin.
“We cannot discuss the hundreds and thousands of various requests from different countries we get with President Putin,” said Peskov.
(Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov and Denis Pinchuk; Writing by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Christian Lowe)