Federal investigators are investigating whether President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen committed bank and tax fraud exceeding $20 million (roughly R290 million) via loans obtained by the taxi medallion business he owns with his family, The New York Times has reported.
The Times, in its report first published Sunday, said investigators were also trying to determine whether Cohen violated campaign finance or other laws when he made deals using hush money to silence women who claimed they had affairs with Trump.
Prosecutors could file charges by the end of the month, the newspaper said, citing two people familiar with the matter.
Convictions for tax and bank fraud carry potentially hefty prison terms, which could put additional pressure on Cohen to cooperate with prosecutors in the event that he is charged.
Speculation has mounted in US media that Cohen, who once declared he was so loyal he would “take a bullet for the president,” is willing to cooperate with prosecutors, and how much Trump has to fear should he do so.
The federal investigation has focused on his business dealings and reportedly whether payments he made violated campaign finance laws.
Cohen was involved in efforts to hush up allegations from a former Playboy model about an affair with Trump, as well as $130,000 paid to porn star Stormy Daniels to silence her own claims of an alleged one-night stand with Trump in 2006.