Two ex-associates of Michael Flynn charged with lobbying for Turkey

Ex-Flynn business partner charged in Turkish lobbying case

The lobbying work is not illegal if the foreign agents register with the Justice Department as per the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

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.

Special counsel Robert Mueller, who is overseeing an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and any potential cooperation between the Trump campaign and that country, has rejected the argument that Flynn was tricked into the myriad of lies he has been accused of.

The Department of Justice on Monday unsealed the indictments of 66-year-old Californian Bijan Rafiekian (also known as Bijan Kian) and 41-year-old Turkish-Dutch national Kamil Ekim Alptekin.

Alptekin stands accused of directing and funding Kian and Flynn's work, and then lying in USA filings about his role. Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was indicted for his work for the Ukraine.

Mr Mueller's prosecutors had already asked that Flynn receive a lenient sentence, however, and asked in a filing that he receive as little as no time in prison.

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According to the indictment, Rafiekian was vice chairman of Flynn's business group, the Flynn Intel Group. He conspired "covertly and unlawfully" to influence USA politicians and public opinion in favor of having Gulen extradited from the US back to Turkey, according to the indictment, which does not mention Gulen by name. He faces additional charges of making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation but he remains in Turkey. The Turkish government has accused Gulen of helping in a failed coup.

The alleged plot detailed Monday included using a company founded by Rafiekian, referred to in the indictment as "Company A", based upon "Person A's" national security expertise.

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

In the summer of 2016, when Flynn was working as an adviser to the Trump campaign, the three initiated what they called a "Truth Campaign" that compared Gulen to Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini.

"A sitting national security adviser, former head of an intelligence agency, retired lieutenant general and 33-year veteran of the armed forces knows he should not lie to federal agents", federal prosecutors wrote.

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