Former Associates of Michael Flynn Accused of Lobbying For Turkey

Former Associates of Michael Flynn Accused of Lobbying For Turkey

Former Associates of Michael Flynn Accused of Lobbying For Turkey

The charges underscored the broadening impact of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, which is focused on possible collusion between Russian Federation and US President Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign, but which has led to at least four spinoff probes including the case against Mr Alptekin and Mr Rafiekian.

Kian, also known as Bijan Rafiekian, appeared in court in Virginia on Monday. By prosecutors' account, the foreign government found a powerful and enthusiastic ally in Flynn - one who was willing on the eve of the presidential election to pen an op-ed pushing for Gulen's expulsion.

Among other evidence, the indictment cites an e-mail from Alptekin to Rafiekian and Flynn in August 2016 in which Alptekin says that he had spoken about the project to discredit Gulen with two Turkish ministers and had a "green light to discuss confidentiality, budget and the scope of the contract". Flynn, Alptekin and Kian were allegedly involved in a scheme to boost support among American politicians to extradite Gülen, who the Turkish government blamed for instigating a failed coup in 2016, back to Turkey.

Citing former Central Intelligence Agency director James Woolsey, the newspaper said Flynn met with Turkish government ministers in September 2016 when he was serving as an adviser on Trump's presidential campaign team.

The plot included using a company founded by Rafiekian and a person referred to as "Person A" [Flynn] in the indictment.

The other defendant in the case, Dutch-Turkish businessman Kamil Ekim Alptekin, is charged with the same two crimes as well as lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Trout declined to comment after the proceeding. Alptekin used his Netherlands-based company Inovo BV to hide the source of payments to Flynn Intel Group, according to court documents.

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In 2016, Flynn famously penned an op-ed in The Hill in which he advocated for Gulen's extradition.

Gulen, a one-time Erdogan ally who has lived in the United States for almost two decades, denies that accusation. They tried to hide from United States authorities that some $530,000 in payments to the Flynn Intel Group were for work on behalf of the Turkish government, prosecutors allege.

Throughout the project, the indictment alleges, Alptekin would hold weekly phone calls with Flynn and would then report back and consult with the Turkish government.

During an interview with the FBI, Alptekin said that while he had discussed the project with a Turkish government minister he chose to go ahead and retain the Flynn Intel Group himself after the Turkish government "dropped the ball".

Following a phone call between Erdogan and President Trump last week, Turkish officials told reporters that the US president said possible tax violations by Gulen were being reviewed. At the same time, the conspirators sought to hide that the Government of Turkey was directing the work. This deception occurred even as Flynn served as a top security adviser to Trump's presidential campaign and subsequently became his first national security adviser. Flynn is expected to be sentenced on Tuesday.

Flynn would become the first person to be charged in Mueller's Russian Federation investigation, although charges against Flynn are not related to colluding with Russian Federation, the core of special counsel probe.

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