Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday said it is “irrelevant” whether he knows lobbyist Todd Howe, who has become a key figure in the ongoing investigations in the Buffalo Billion economic development project and SUNY Polytechnic.

Speaking to reporters in Syracuse, Cuomo reiterated anyone who is convicted of wrongdoing should be punished.

Howe, a former lobbyist with the firm Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna, represented firms that had contracts with the under-investigation Buffalo Billion, as well as SUNY Polytechnic, which is being investigated by the state attorney general’s office.

Last week, the office Howe used at SUNY Poly in Albany was raided by investigators.

“I know Todd Howe,” Cuomo said Thursday. “I’ve known him for many years. He worked for nano, he’s worked on a lot of these projects. But it’s also irrelevant. If anyone does anything improper, they will be punished to the fullest extent of the law, period.”

The comments come after multiple stories detailed Howe’s interactions with the administration as well as the Cuomo inner circle. According to The Wall Street Journal, Howe acted as a go-between for the administration and SUNY Poly chief Alain Kaloyeros. A New York Post story last month reported Howe was the hand model for the late former Gov. Mario Cuomo’s official portrait.

Cuomo last month told reporters he didn’t have any knowledge of Howe’s financial troubles during a stop in the Adirondacks.

Here’s the exchange Cuomo had with a reporter:

Reporter: You were not aware of his criminal record, you were not aware of his financial problems?

Governor Cuomo: No I was not.

Reporter: How is that possible considering you’ve known the guy for 20 years?

Governor Cuomo: I’ve known you for twenty years. I don’t know anything about you.

Reporter: Did he work on your campaign in 2014?

Governor Cuomo: I don’t know if he did. I don’t know if he did. He worked for my father many, many years ago. He worked for and was a member of the team at HUD. I wouldn’t call us close friends. But, he worked for the state for a number of years. But I had no knowledge of his personal situation.