Two former business associates of Michael Flynn were charged with acting as unregistered agents of a foreign government and conspiracy related to activities surrounding the attempted extradition of exiled Turkish imam Fethullah Gulen from the U.S.
According to The Washington Post, the indictment, unsealed in the Eastern District of Virginia Monday, alleges that Bijan Kian and Turkish businessman Kamil Ekim “conspired” to unlawfully lobby federal U.S. officials and sway domestic public opinion against Gulen, an outspoken critic of Turkish President Recep Erdogan. Further, prosecutors say Alptekin “directed and funded” Flynn and Kian’s activities and later lied to investigators concerning his efforts. Kian reportedly served as vice chairman of Flynn’s lobbying group, the Flynn Intel Group.
JUST IN: Court documents: Two of Michael Flynn's business associates, Bikan Rafiekian (Bijan Kian) and Kamil Alptekin, indicted for alleged conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government and other charges; case tied to efforts to extradite Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen. pic.twitter.com/Q1utxZtwDD
— NBC News (@NBCNews) December 17, 2018
The indictment identifies Flynn, who served as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser between January and February of 2017, as “Person A.” Gulen, who resides in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, is believed to have orchestrated a failed coup in 2016.
“I just finished in Ankara after several meetings today” with Turkish officials, Alptekin told Flynn and Kian, the indictment states. “I have a green light to discuss confidentiality, budget, and the scope of the contract.”
Kian, who is in the process of moving from California to Washington, D.C., was released on personal recognizance bond and must periodically notify his probation officer of his whereabouts. Reports indicate Ekim is currently in Istanbul.
Flynn, who was charged with making false statements to the FBI as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, is due to be sentenced on December 18. Earlier this month, Mueller filed a long-awaited sentencing memo regarding his criminal case against Flynn and recommended the one-time Trump official not receive any prison time after providing prosecutors with “substantial assistance.”