The Treasury Department’s inspector general is investigating whether Michael Cohen’s banking records were leaked after details about Cohen’s financial records were made public Tuesday, the inspector general’s office confirmed to TPM on Wednesday.
The Washington Post was first to report that the inspector general’s office had opened the investigation into possible leaks of Cohen’s banking information.
Rich Delmar, the counsel to the Treasury Department inspector general, told TPM that in response to New York Times reports on payments that Cohen allegedly received from a Russian oligarch’s U.S. affiliate company, the inspector general is looking into whether Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) on Cohen’s banking record had been “improperly disseminated.” Banks are required by law to flag to the Treasury Department any transactions of $10,000 or more that appear abnormal, the Post reported.
Michael Avenatti, attorney for porn actress Stormy Daniels, who has long been calling for the release of SARs related to Cohen’s bank transactions, was first to allege on Tuesday that Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg made payments to Cohen through a U.S. affiliate of Vekselberg’s firm. CNN and other news outlets later confirmed the payments to Cohen linked to Vekselberg. The Russian oligarch attended President Donald Trump’s inauguration and was reportedly questioned by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team at a New York airport this year.
Avenatti has expressed particular interest in a SAR regarding Cohen’s $130,000 payment to Daniels just before the 2016 election to keep her quiet about an affair with Trump. The Wall Street Journal reported in March that Cohen’s bank flagged that transaction as suspicious.