Ehrat is to resign from the Basel-based pharma after revelations the firm paid $1.2 million to a company controlled by the USA president's personal lawyer Michael Cohen.
Novartis' general counsel Felix Ehart has announced that he will resign after revelations that he was a co-signatory on a controversial contract with United States president Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen.
"As a co-signatory with our former CEO, I take personal responsibility to bring the public debate on this matter to an end", Ehrat said Wednesday.
The $100,000-per-month contract between Novartis and Cohen's Essential Consultants was approved under former chief executive Joe Jimenez in 2017 as a bid to gain insight into USA healthcare policy under the new administration.
The payments became public knowledge after Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for porn actress Stephanie Clifford, who is better known as Stormy Daniels, published details of an account used by Cohen to pay Clifford $130,000 so that she would keep quiet about her affair with the U.S. president.
In a May 9th statement, Novartis acknowledged the payments but denied any attempt to buy political influence.
"With the recent change in administration, Novartis believed that Michael Cohen could advise the company as to how the Trump administration might approach certain United States healthcare policy matters, including the Affordable Care Act", Novartis stated.
"We should have just definitively parted ways with this guy as soon as we knew he was not going to be a help", said Jimenez, who claimed Cohen told him he no longer worked for Trump at the time of the contract's signing.
"After my team met with him individually, it was clear that he oversold his abilities".
He also said Cohen stated he would not provide any lobbing services.
Novartis chief executive Vas Narasimhan said: 'During his term as group general counsel, Felix was instrumental in further developing the global legal department of Novartis, and he played a key role in the executive committee with his proven expertise.