By Rachel Weiner
FILE - In this Tuesday, July 10, 2018 file photo, former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn leaves federal courthouse in Washington, following a status hearing. Flymnn’s business partner is being charged with acting as an agent of a foreign government and conspiracy for attempting to get Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen extradited from the United States. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)
A former business partner of Michael Flynn is being charged with acting as an agent of a foreign government and conspiracy for attempting to get Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen extradited from the United States.
Bijan Kian made his first appearance in Alexandria federal court Monday morning. According to the indictment, Kian conspired with Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin to illegally lobby U.S. government officials and influence public opinion in the U.S. against Gulen.
Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin is accused of directing and funding Kian and Flynn’s work, and then lying in U.S. filings about his role. He is charged with the same crimes as Kian, as well as making false statements, but he remains in Turkey.
Flynn, who served as President Trump’s national security adviser during his first weeks in office, is identified in the indictment as “Person A.” Flynn is soon to be sentenced for lying to FBI agents as part of the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections. Prosecutors asked for no prison time for Flynn, citing his “substantial assistance.”
The Turkish government blames Gulen, who is living in exile in Pennsylvania, for instigating a failed coup in 2016.
“I just finished in Ankara after several meetings today” with Turkish ministers, Alptekin wrote to Rafiekian and Flynn, according to the indictment. “I have a green light to discuss confidentiality, budget, and the scope of the contract.”
Kian was allowed out on a personal recognizance bond, with the only condition that he keep the probation office abreast of his movements. Defense attorney Robert Trout told a magistrate judge Kian was currently in the process of relocating from California to the D.C. area. Trout declined to comment after the proceeding.
Source: The Washington Post