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Report: Flynn-owned Firm Was Paid Hundreds of Thousands to Produce Pro-Turkey Film

  • VOA News

FILE - Then-national security adviser Michael Flynn in seen the East Room of the White House in Washington, Feb. 13, 2017.

Former National Security Advisor's Michael Flynn's consulting firm reportedly signed a $530,000 lobbying contract last year to promote Turkish interests, including a documentary that was never completed.

The Wall Street Journal first reported this week the documentary, which was shelved in November, was to discredit Fethullah Gulen, the exiled cleric whom Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has accused of masterminding last year's coup attempt.

Flynn Intel Group was paid by Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin to "polish the country's image after a botched military coup," the Journal reported.

Production of the documentary was underway as Flynn campaigned for President Donald Trump throughout the United States.

The company's contract with the businessman has placed Flynn in legal jeopardy.

The contract is drawing scrutiny by U.S. officials conducting several investigations into Flynn's business activities.

Flynn, who resigned under pressure as Trump's national security adviser in February, failed to inform the federal government until March that his firm was paid to represent the Turkish government.

Numerous probes into Flynn’s activities

Flynn is now the subject of criminal, congressional and military probes into allegations of improperly concealing his financial links to Turkey and Russia. Investigators are also trying to determine whether the alleged ties influenced Flynn's decisions as an advisor to Trump.

The report said work on the documentary began last summer, shortly after the failed military coup in Turkey. It also said Flynn's company signed a three-month contract with Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin a few weeks later.

Flynn Intel Group hired Rudi Bakhtiar, a former CNN anchor, former VICE News correspondent, and also a former correspondent for VOA's Persian Service, to do on-camera work for the documentary. Bakhtiar said she was given the impression the film would be an objective news documentary.

David Enders, a former VICE News employee, told the Journal that the head of Flynn's company, Bijan Kian, attempted to conceal the company's role in the documentary's production.

The latest disclosures about Flynn's work on behalf of Turkey comes as he is under investigation for any possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence last year's U.S. presidential election.

The headline of this story has been corrected. An earlier version said millions instead of hundreds of thousands.

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