Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Politico: Flynn's Lobbying Payments May Have Come From Russia

Trump and Flynn - laugh over all the Russian money?
Even as the White House is refusing to turn over requested documents to Congressional investigators Politico has broken a story that suggests that payments received by former Trump BFF, Mike Flynn, ostensibly from Turkey may have in fact come from Russia.  Flynn received these payments while involved in the Trump campaign and failed to register as a foreign agent of Turkey, much less Russia. Indeed, the smoke is becoming thicker and thicker and suggesting that there indeed is a fire that could take Mike Flynn,  Der Trumpenf├╝hrer, and many others down, if not put them in prison.  No wonder Flynn is seeking immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony about the Trump campaign's ties to Russia.   Here are excerpts from Politico (there is much more and the rule to remember is "follow the money back to its source"):
The Turkish man who gave Mike Flynn a $600,000 lobbying deal just before President Donald Trump picked him to be national security adviser has business ties to Russia, including a 2009 aviation financing deal negotiated with Vladimir Putin, according to court records.
The man, Ekim Alptekin, has in recent years helped to coordinate Turkish lobbying in Washington with Dmitri “David” Zaikin, a Soviet-born former executive in Russian energy and mining companies who also has had dealings with Putin’s government, according to three people with direct knowledge of the activities.
This unusual arrangement, in which Alptekin and Zaikin have helped steer Turkish lobbying through various groups since at least 2015, raises questions about both the agenda of the two men and the source of the funds used to pay the lobbyists.
the hiring of Flynn by Alptekin came at a time when Flynn was working for Trump’s campaign and Putin’s government was under investigation for interfering with the U.S. election.
Flynn’s lawyer, Robert Kelner, declined to comment. In a filing with the Justice Department, Flynn said he relied on assurances from Alptekin that he was not directly or indirectly funded by a foreign government. But shifting explanations and a web of business ties raise questions about the arrangement.
Flynn has offered evolving accounts of his lobbying work for Alptekin. In September, Flynn reported his client as a Dutch shell company owned by Alptekin. After being forced to leave the White House — reportedly because he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations during the transition with the Russian ambassador — Flynn filed new paperwork in March acknowledging that his lobbying work “principally benefitted” the Turkish government.
The revelation of Russian business ties to the man who hired Flynn threatens to complicate the White House’s struggle to escape the shadow of the FBI investigation into whether members of the Trump campaign coordinated with Russian agents.
His original White House ethics disclosure failed to include payments from Kremlin propaganda network RT and two other Russian companies. The RT payment was for a paid speech Flynn gave at a Moscow gala where he sat at the same table as Putin.
A White House spokesman declined to comment.
Alptekin, in an interview, said he hired Flynn with his own money and did not coordinate any lobbying for the Turkish government.
Siberian Energy Group’s dealings under Zaikin were characteristic of the equity trades, offshore financing schemes and consulting agreements that Putin’s allies have used to protect and hide assets.

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