Novartis Investments SARL, a subsidiary of Swiss-based multinational pharmaceutical giant Novartis, made four payments of $US99,980 each to a United States company, Essential Consultants LLC, owned by Mr Michael Cohen, a lawyer for the President of the United States, Mr Donald Trump.

The four payments were made between October 2017 and January 2018.

Novartis – whose chief executive was among 15 business leaders invited to dinner with Mr Trump at the World Economic Forum in January – spent more than $US10 million on lobbying in Washington last year and frequently seeks approvals from federal drug regulators.

Novartis said in a statement that its agreement with Essential Consultants has expired.

Mr Cohen created Essential Consultants in Delaware less than two weeks before he completed his deal with porn actress Stormy Daniels (real name Stephanie Clifford), who is now contesting her contract with Mr Cohen as invalid. He initially said he paid her out of his own pocket by way of a home equity line of credit.

But last week, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani of New York said that Mr Trump had reimbursed Mr Cohen through several $35,000 monthly transactions that amounted to more than $400,000 – covering the payment to Ms Clifford and, he said, other “incidental” expenses.