Ukraine is bitterly denying a BBC report that it paid Donald Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, $400,000 to set up a meeting between Trump and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
Poroshenko’s office called the story a “blatant lie, slander and fake.” Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko told VOA he was “very sorry” to hear that even “the most notable Western media outlets don’t abide by the principle of balanced reporting and don’t attempt to get the other side of the story.”
According to the BBC, Poroshenko desired to meet with Trump in 2017.
He wanted to open a so-called back channel to Trump because Ukrainian lobbyists in Washington could arrange only a brief photo opportunity and handshake. Poroshenko wanted much more, something that could be portrayed as full talks with the U.S. president.
The BBC said two Poroshenko intermediaries paid Cohen at least $400,000 and as much as $600,000 to set up the meeting.
There is no indication Trump knew about the payment.
There has been no comment from the White House on the BBC report. Cohen and the two Ukrainian intermediaries have denied it.
Cohen is being investigated for alleged money laundering and campaign finance violations tied to hush money paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet about an affair she claims to have had with Trump in 2006.
VOA’s Ukraine service contributed to this report.