The Cohen materials outline how in October 2016 Essential Consultants was established, and then how in January 2017, money began to flow in monthly from Columbus Nova LLC. The monthly installments were for $83,333 and totaled $583,332 from January, 2017 to August 2017.
Why this matters: The government, in its documents, states that LLC is "an investment management firm controlled by Renova Group, an industrial holding company based in Zurich, Switzerland that is controlled by Russian national Viktor Vekselberg."
Who's that? Viktor Vekselberg is an oligarch with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was sanctioned in early 2018 for activities including election interference. The sanctions prohibit Vekselberg from traveling to the US.
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Clarification: The headline of this post has been updated to reflect that Columbus Nova is linked to Viktor Vekselberg, rather than controlled by him, as described in court documents.