Flynn Associates Indicted for Acting as Unregistered Foreign Agents

Ex-Flynn business partner charged in Turkish lobbying case

In a case being prosecuted by special counsel Robert Mueller, Flynn admitted to making false claims in the FARA filing about the Turkish lobbying project.

Bijan Rafiekian, who also goes by the name Bijan Kian, made an initial appearance Monday in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. He is indicted on charges including failing to register as a foreign agent. Michael Flynn is referred to as "Person A" in the unsealed indictment and Kian was formerly a business partner of his. U.S. Department of Justice attorneys allege the two business associates "sought to discredit and delegitimize the Turkish citizen in the eyes of politicians and the public, and ultimately to secure the Turkish citizen's extradition".

Flynn, who is due to be sentenced on Tuesday for lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation related to his contacts with the then Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kislyak, has also admitted to lying about his role in the Turkish lobbying effort and has been co-operating with prosecutors on the probe.

Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin, who paid Kian and Flynn, was also charged in the indictment, but he remained overseas, the newspaper added. His lawyer, Robert Trout, declined to comment.

The indictment also provides the backstory behind a November 8, 2016, op-ed Flynn published in The Hill newspaper titled "Our Ally Turkey Is in Crisis and Needs Our Support", which compares Gulen to Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini.

Gulen, a one-time Erdogan ally who has lived in the U.S. for almost two decades, denies that accusation.

The campaign led to a meeting on September 19 between Flynn, Kian, Alptekin, former CIA Director James Woolsey, and two Turkish government ministers: Foreign minister Mevlet Cavusoglu and energy minister (and Erdogan son-in-law) Berat Albayrak. The pair sought to hide that the work was, in fact, directed by the Turkish government, federal prosecutors said.

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In fact, Flynn had called a senior transition official at Trump's Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, to talk about what he should say to Kislyak about the sanctions that had been announced, and he followed up later to report the upshot of the conversation with the ambassador, according to his plea agreement. Of the roughly $600,000 paid to Flynn's company, $80,000 was sent back to Alptekin through his Netherlands-based firm Inovo BV, Justice Department filings show.

On July 27, 2016, according to the indictment, Kian wrote to Alptekin that he'd had a "detailed discussion" with Flynn and "we are ready to engage on what needs to be done".

At the time the administration of president Barack Obama had not approved Ankara's extradition request for Gulen, and the Trump administration has also demurred on the issue.

Flynn is scheduled to appear for sentencing at 11 a.m. on Tuesday.

Flynn admitted one count of lying to the FBI in a plea deal which led to him providing "substantial" information to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian Federation meddling in the 2016 election.

United States media say this may possibly be due to Flynn's cooperation in the Russian Federation probe by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. "As part of this concealment, the defendants used Alptekin's company, Company B, rather than the Government of Turkey, to serve as Company A's 'client'".

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