Columbus Nova, a company that paid longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen approximately $500,000 in 2017, recently scrubbed its website to obscure its connection to Viktor Vekselberg, a Russian oligarch with close ties to Vladimir Putin.
Vekselberg is the chairman of the Renova Group, a Russian company with far-flung business enterprises. As recently as April 22, 2018, Columbus Nova described itself as “the US investment vehicle for the Renova Group.” Additionally, Andrew Intrater, Columbus Nova’s CEO and Vekselberg’s cousin, was identified as a “current Member of the Executive Board of Renova Group.”
This information, which was all listed in Intrater’s biography, has been completely removed from the Columbus Nova website.
Intrater’s biography also reveals that he was a former Director at Renova Group. The Columbus Nova website currently does not include a biography for Intrater, or any other members of the firm. The removal of his biography were first reported by CNN.
A spokesman representing Columbus Nova told ThinkProgress that the description of Columbus Nova as a “US investment vehicle for the Renova group” was a general reference to the fact that Columbus Nova managed Renova’s U.S. investments. The spokesman also downplayed Intrater’s position on the Executive Board of Renova group, describing it as an advisory board that held annual meetings.
Yesterday, ThinkProgress reported that the website for the Renova Group, Vekselberg’s company, listed Columbus Nova as part of the “Renova group structure” as of January 2017, when the payments to Cohen began.
Currently, the Columbus Nova website features a lengthy statement denying they are controlled or influenced by any foreign entity, including Vekselberg or Renova Group. The website refers to Renova Group simply as its “biggest client.”
In April, Renova Group and Vekselberg were sanctioned by the United States government, freezing their U.S. assets and barring Vekselberg from entering the country. Vekselberg was questioned by agents working for special counsel Robert Mueller when his plane landed in New York earlier this year.