Partners of ex-Trump aide Flynn indicted over Gulen plot

Two of Flynn's business partners indicted

The associate, Bijan Kian, appeared in a federal court in Alexandria, Virginia on Monday morning, where he was charged with violating the U.S. Foreign Agent Registration Act and " conspiracy for attempting to get Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen extradited from the United States", the Post said.

Kian and Alptekin are charged with conspiracy and acting as agents of a foreign government; Alptekin is also accused of making false statements.

The indicted are Flynn's co-founder of a consultancy firm and a businessman with dual Turkish-Dutch citizenship.

This is breaking news.

Flynn has been charged for his involvement with alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election.

Rafiekian founded the Flynn Intel Group with Flynn to offer advisory services based on Flynn's national security expertise.

Flynn, who is due to be sentenced on Tuesday for lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation related to his contacts with the then Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kislyak, has also admitted to lying about his role in the Turkish lobbying effort and has been co-operating with prosecutors on the probe. Alptekin allegedly made the payments to Flynn's firm from an account in Turkey.

The indictment alleges that conversation at the meeting "centered on [Gulen] and the Turkish government's efforts to convince the USA government to extradite the Turkish citizen to Turkey".

In the purported messages, Alptekin tries to use Flynn to gain access to the Obama-era State Department, writing him, "Do we know anyone on [John Kerry]'s team?"

Among other evidence, the indictment cites an e-mail from Alptekin to Rafiekian and Flynn in August 2016 in which Alptekin says that he had spoken about the project to discredit Gulen with two Turkish ministers and had a "green light to discuss confidentiality, budget and the scope of the contract". His lawyer, Robert Trout, declined to comment.

Kian and Alptekin were allegedly involved "in a conspiracy to covertly influence US politicians and public opinion against a Turkish citizen living in the United States whose extradition had been requested by the Government of Turkey". Kian, according to prosecutors, in response produced a draft of the op-ed, which compared Gulen to Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini and argued the USA should not provide a "safe haven" for the cleric. He said in a phone interview that he hired Flynn to help secure a deal with Ratio Energy, an Israeli energy company.

If that name sounds familiar, it may be from the now-infamous op-ed Flynn wrote for The Hill on Election Day 2016 headlined "Our ally Turkey is in crisis and needs our support".

"We all remember another quiet, bearded, elder cleric who sat under an apple tree in Neauphle-le-Château in the suburbs of Paris in 1978", Flynn said in the article. "He claimed to be a man of God who wanted to topple a dictator and return the power to the people".

Several days before the column was published, Kian crowed to Alptekin in an email about the advantageous timing of the pending op-ed piece coinciding with Election Day.

"The arrow has left the bow!"

The revelation of the indictment, which was unsealed on Monday, comes on the eve of the retired three-star general Flynn's sentencing hearing.

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