As part of the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, federal investigators seized documents and records from Cohen’s home, office, and hotel. In addition to his political dealings, investigators were also interested in the attorney’s involvement in the taxi industry.
Shtayner and Shusterman, both born in the Ukraine, started out as taxi drivers after immigrating to the U.S., but soon became major players in the taxi industries in New York City and Chicago. In 1993, the two men pleaded guilty to federal money-laundering charges in a case relating to cab drivers, but both continued to invest heavily in the industry. Cohen also partnered with his father-in-law, and currently owns 22 cabs in Chicago, and 30 taxi medallions – physical plates all cab drivers are required to display – in New York.
The day before Donald Trump was elected president, Shtayner created Cannaboss LLC, a Nevada-based cannabis firm. Within months, the businessman moved into a majority position at the canna-business, which is licensed to grow weed and manufacture edibles.
Earlier this month, Nevada city officials questioned Shtayner over his involvement with Cohen and Shusterman. The businessman claimed that the money that he received from Cohen and his family was solely related to the taxi business, and was not used to fund any cannabis ventures.
Shtayner also said that the loans from Cohen and his family were from many years ago, long before the current Russia scandal, and that the amount was significantly less than the $26 million being reported by the press. The businessman also explained that he was shifting the focus of his business endeavors from taxis to weed because of the recent economic downturn that the taxi industry is facing.