Tue, 26 May 2020

The former business partner of U.S. President Donald Trump's former national-security adviser, Michael Flynn, was convicted on July 23 of conspiring to lobby for Turkey.

Bijan Rafiekian, who co-founded the Flynn Intel Group consultancy, was indicted in December on suspicion of lobbying on Turkey's behalf.

He was also accused of trying to convince the U.S. government to extradite Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric whom Ankara blames for taking part in a coup attempt in 2016.

Flynn briefly held the powerful position of national-security adviser until resigning in 2017 after it was discovered that he misled Vice President Mike Pence about contacts with Russia's then-ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kislyak.

In December 2017, Flynn pleaded guilty to charges of lying to FBI investigators about those conversations, and he agreed to cooperate with law enforcement.

Flynn cooperated with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who investigated whether Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election and possible interactions between Trump associates and Russian officials.

Specifically, Flynn notified Mueller about several attempts by people to obstruct the Russia investigation.

In a redacted version of Mueller's findings, his report corroborated U.S. intelligence conclusions of Russian meddling and cited a lack of evidence of conspiracy by Trump, but didn't exonerate him.

The Turkish government has denied any attempts to evade U.S. regulations concerning foreign government lobbyists.

Based on reporting by Reuters

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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