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Michael Flynn Associates Charged with Illegal Lobbying for Turkey

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn at the White House in Washington D.C., February 1, 2017. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Two business associates of Michael Flynn were charged Monday with conspiracy on Turkey’s behalf for illegally lobbying U.S. government officials and attempting to influence public opinion against an enemy of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Bijan Kian and Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin worked with Flynn, President Trump’s former national-security adviser who is caught up in the special counsel’s Russia investigation, to push for the extradition of Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom the Turkish government blames for provoking a failed coup in 2016.

The two were charged in Alexandria, Va., federal court with conspiracy to violate federal lobbying laws, according to indictments unsealed on Monday. Kian was present in court, but Alptekin, who was also charged with making false statements to the U.S. government, is in Turkey. Alptekin is accused of orchestrating and providing the money for Flynn and Kian’s lobbying.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s statement on Flynn’s crimes also says the former national-security adviser also made “materially false statements and omissions” in Foreign Agent Registration Act filings when he was lobbying for Turkey.

The cleric Turkey requested to be extradited, Gulen, is currently living in exile in Pennsylvania.

Flynn is expected to be sentenced on Tuesday for lying to the FBI about his Russia contacts during his brief stint as national-security adviser.

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