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The Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis announced Wednesday that a top lawyer who co-signed a $1.2 million contract to hire President Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, was stepping down in June.
Felix R. Ehrat, group general counsel of Novartis, is retiring “in the context of discussions surrounding Novartis' former agreement with Essential Consultants, owned by Michael Cohen,” the company said.
“Although the contract was legally in order, it was an error,” Ehrat said in a statement. “As a co-signatory with our former CEO, I take personal responsibility to bring the public debate on this matter to an end.”
The contract has been a major embarrassment for one of the world's largest drug companies, and its current chief executive, Vasant Narasimhan, called it a mistake at an event Wednesday with investors and analysts at the company's global headquarters in Basel.
"We also have made mistakes recently and the world rightly expects more from a leading healthcare company," Narasimhan said. "Our new executive team and I have a deep commitment to ensure we always operate with the highest integrity and sound judgment and will work hard to rebuild lasting trust with society."
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