Felix Sater, childhood friend and business associate of Michael Cohen, told BuzzFeed News Thursday that he and Cohen considered giving Russian President Vladimir Putin the penthouse in the Trump Organization’s Moscow building project under consideration at late as 2016.
Cohen pleaded guilty Thursday to lying to Congress about the project, which would have placed a Trump building in Russia’s capital.
“In Russia, the oligarchs would bend over backwards to live in the same building as Vladimir Putin,” Sater told BuzzFeed News. “My idea was to give a $50 million penthouse to Putin and charge $250 million more for the rest of the units. All the oligarchs would line up to live in the same building as Putin.”
BuzzFeed said a second unnamed source confirmed that plan, and that in addition, two unnamed law enforcement officials confirmed that Cohen and Sater discussed the proposal with Putin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov.
Sater recalled to BuzzFeed that Cohen called the plan a “great idea.” Cohen did not comment for its report, BuzzFeed said.
Trump said Thursday that he “wasn’t trying to hide anything” about the potential Russia deal — but he repeatedly said during the 2016 campaign that he had nothing to do with Russia.