On Eve of Flynn Sentencing, 2 Associates Are Charged

It's all related to Flynn's lobbying for Turkey, while he was working on the Trump campaign
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 17, 2018 1:35 PM CST
On Eve of Flynn Sentencing, 2 Associates Are Charged
In this July 10 photo, former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn leaves federal courthouse in Washington.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Two men involved in a Turkish lobbying campaign led by former national security adviser Michael Flynn have been charged with illegal lobbying in a case related to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. An indictment unsealed Monday against Flynn's former business partner, Bijan Kian, and a Turkish businessman, Ekim Alptekin, accuses the two men of conspiring to "covertly and unlawfully" influence US politicians on behalf of Turkey, per the AP. The new charges appear to shed light on the cooperation of Flynn, who last year admitted to lying about several aspects of the lobbying work. In recommending he serve no prison time, prosecutors said Flynn not only helped with the Russia probe but also an undisclosed—and separate—criminal investigation. Flynn's sentencing is set for Tuesday.

Kian, whose full name is Bijan Rafiekian, was arrested and made an initial appearance Monday in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. He is indicted on charges including failing to register as a foreign agent. Alptekin, a dual Turkish-Dutch citizen living in Istanbul whose full name is Kamil Ekim Alpetekin, remains at large. According to the indictment, Kian was vice chairman of Flynn's business group, the Flynn Intel Group. The two worked throughout 2016 to seek ways to have cleric Fethullah Gulen extradited from the US to Turkey. The indictment says Flynn texted and emailed frequently on ways to advance the Turkish agenda through the final weeks of the 2016 campaign, while simultaneously serving as a public adviser to Trump, per the Washington Post. (By one count, 17 Trump investigations are underway.)

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