Google Duplex, Apple and Goldman, Drug Prices: CEO Daily for May 11, 2018

Cohen Payments Again

The exposure of corporate payments to Trump lawyer Michael Cohen seems to have sparked multiple retirements. Last week it was AT&T Washington policy chief Bob Quinn; now it’s Novartis general counsel Felix Ehrat. “Although the contract was legally in order, it was an error. 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. Fortune

Soros and Tesla

Soros Fund Management has become a major backer of Tesla, buying $35 million worth of its bonds. Tesla is hemorrhaging money and leans heavily on bond offerings right now. George Soros’s fund, which recently dumped all its Amazon stock, has also sold its small stake in Twitter. Its latest regulatory filing shows, however, that it has been buying into Netflix. CNBC

North Korea

The Korean outlook is suddenly not looking so sunny anymore, with the North cancelling talks with the South over U.S.-South Korean military drills, and threatening to pull out of its planned talks with President Trump. The North Koreans accuse the White House of trying to “push us into a corner and force only unilateral nuclear abandonment.” North Korean foreign affairs minister Kim Kye Gwan seems particularly irked by recent comments from Trump’s new national security adviser, John Bolton. CNN

Tariff Threats

The World Trade Organization has partially upheld a ruling against the EU over illegal aid to Boeing rival Airbus—a decision that may bring the U.S. closer to levying tariffs on EU products. “Unless the EU finally takes action to stop breaking the rules and harming U.S. interests, the United States will have to move forward with countermeasures on EU products,” said U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer. However, the WTO still needs to rule on the issue of the U.S. illegally subsidizing Boeing, and if the EU wins that one then it gets to impose its own tariffs on U.S. goods. Financial Times

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