The White House is understood to have been asked to provide records on former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. The request made by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators who are looking into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow suggests that the Russia probe may be taking a closer look at the retired three-star Army general’s financial dealings. Flynn was removed from his post in February after it emerged that he had failed to disclose the true nature of the conversations he had had with Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak.
Mueller is particularly interested in a couple of payments Flynn’s company, Flynn Intel Group made to Inovo in September and October last year. These payments, the investigators believe, could be kickbacks paid to Ekim Alptekin, Inovo’s boss, for concealing the fact that the cash paid as part of the Gülen deal actually came from the Turkish government.
On September 15, 2016 Flynn Intel signed a $600,000 lobbying contract with Inovo BV, a Netherland-based company, to produce a documentary discrediting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s opponent Fethullah Gülen. Erdogan believes that Gülen, a Pennsylvania-based Sunni cleric, was behind the failed coup attempt which rocked Turkey last year.
Inovo sent $200,000 to Flynn Intel on September 9. A month later, on October 11, Inovo made a second payment to Flynn’s company for $185,000.
Suspicions that kickbacks had been paid to Inovo grew when the investigators discovered that Flynn Intel had sent part of the payments back to Alptekin. Indeed, Flynn’s company wired $40,000 back to Inovo four days after the September 9 payment. Another $40,000 transfer occurred six days following the October 11 payment. Should these payments be found to be kickbacks, Flynn could potentially be prosecuted for fraud.
Flynn is also suspected of misleading FBI agents about the true nature of his conversations with Kislyak. Although he initially denied that he and Kislyak had discussed the sanctions imposed upon Russia by the Obama administration, his spokesman later stated that “while he had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up.” But a review of the phone calls revealed that Flynn had suggested that the sanctions could be eased or even lifted.
President Trump’s former adviser is also accused of failing to reveal some of his speaking engagements. Flynn actually filed three different versions of his financial-disclosure forms: one in February, one in March, and a third one last Thursday.
A few months ago, Flynn said that he was willing to testify in exchange for immunity from prosecution but his offer fell on deaf ears.
In May, federal prosecutors issued grand jury subpoenas to some of his associates as part of the Russia investigation.Share