Michael Flynn's Business Partner Indicted Ahead of Trump Aide's Sentencing


According to the indictment, Alptekin worked at the direction of the Turkish government, but the defendants worked to hide that fact.

Charges against the two former associates, Bijan Rafiekian, also known as Bijan Kian, and Ekim Alptekin, were unsealed on Monday in a federal courtroom in Alexandria, Va. - the day before Flynn is set to be sentenced for lying about his communications with Russian officials as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. They have been charged with conspiracy, lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and illegally acting in the U.S.as Turkish agents.

The indictment also describes the involvement in the conspiracy of "Person A", who is believed to be Flynn, but that individual is not charged.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames Gulen for the attempted coup two years ago.

They are accused by federal authorities of attempting to "covertly and unlawfully" influence us politics and public opinion in favor of extraditing Turkish citizen Fethullah Gulen, who was blamed by Turkey's President Recep Erdogan for an attempted coup in 2016.

According to allegations in the indictment, the scheme included using a Dutch company owned by Alptekin to appear to be the "client" of Company A and to pay the company's fee of $600,000, which was to be paid in three installments. Mr. Mueller referred the Turkey case to prosecutors in Northern Virginia earlier this year.

Flynn has been cooperating with prosecutors after he pleaded guilty to unrelated charges and is due to be sentenced this week. Kian reportedly served as vice chairman of Flynn's lobbying group, the Flynn Intel Group. The cleric's religious movement runs schools in around 150 countries, including the US, and Turkey has accused the schools of financial fraud and other crimes. Months after writing that, Flynn admitted to the lobbying and registered as a foreign agent. Flynn Intel Group hired law firm Covington and Burling to investigate whether it was obligated to register as a foreign agent under FARA.

Other reports have alleged that Turkey had asked Flynn to have Gulen forcibly rendered back to Ankara by extrajudicial means.

According to some reports, the question about whether to extradite Gulen may remain a live issue within the Trump administration.

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