The Qatari investor connected to the infamous Christopher Steele dossier has spoken out about his interactions with Donald Trump's longtime attorney Michael Cohen — and said the lawyer once asked him to pay $1 million after the 2016 presidential election.
In a series of interviews with The Intercept, Ahmed Al-Rumaihi — a billionaire connected to a Russian-Qatari business sale referenced in the Steele dossier — claimed Cohen asked him to pay $1 million upfront for his "services" in December 2016. His revelation is the first of its kind amid headlines about Cohen's alleged pay-for-play scheme in which he offered businesses "insights" on the Trump administration in exchange for hefty fees.
Al-Rumaihi described how Cohen's "eyes lit up" during their first meeting at a $5,000-a-head transition fundraiser at a New York City restaurant on December 5, 2016 when the billionaire investor "asked Cohen if he could pick his brain on an infrastructure fund the Qatari Investment Authority had been contemplating, worth more than $50 billion."
A few days later, they met again with the same acquaintance that brought Al-Rumaihi to the December 5 luncheon. The men attempted to hash out details about the proposed infrastructure project and when to announce it — Cohen wanted to do so immediately, while Al-Rumaihi wanted to wait for the go-ahead from the Qatari government. The investor included a snippet of conversation from the more private meeting in which Cohen suggested an example of how the partnership could play out.
"For example, we can find a steel factory that is about to shut down," Cohen reportedly told Al-Rumaihi. "You guys can invest. I’ll give you some names to appoint as partners. You guys put in the money, we will put in the know-how, and share the profits 50-50. We can perhaps get a federal government ‘off-take agreement’ for 10-15 years. It will revitalize the city, great PR, you guys will look like you’re saving the city, everybody wins.’”
Cohen then told the investor that he'd require $1 million upfront to move the project along, and Al-Rumaihi declined because his sovereign wealth fund "does not pay middleman fees in any transactions." He told The Intercept he met with Cohen once more, and had a strange conversation that included the attorney showing him a photo of his daughter.
"Oh you guys know London pretty well, given all the properties you own, like Harrods,'" Cohen reportedly told the investor. "I bet there’s a lot of nice purses there she’d like."
The following day, December 12, Al-Rumaihi went to Trump Tower to have a meeting with former national security adviser Michael Flynn — an appearance that eventually made its way to a Twitter post from Michael Avenatti, the attorney representing onetime Trump mistress Stormy Daniels.
When reached via text by The Intercept, Cohen denied Al-Rumaihi's allegation and said "the truth will prevail."