Michael Flynn's lobbying firm received $530,000 from Turkish client

Nick Allen
Michael Flynn - 2017 Getty Images

Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, has confirmed his lobbying firm carried out $530,000 worth of work that may have helped the Turkish government in the run-up to the US election.

Mr Trump sacked Flynn, a former US army lieutenant-general, last month for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about the extent of his contacts with Russia's ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak.

In the latest development a lawyer for Mr Flynn filed documents with the US Department of Justice registering him as a "foreign agent" over work on behalf of a Turkish company.

The documents said Mr Flynn and his consulting firm Flynn Intel Group Inc. were voluntarily registering for having carried out lobbying from August to November that "could be construed to have principally benefited the Republic of Turkey".

Under the Foreign Agent Registration Act US citizens who lobby on behalf of foreign governments or political entities must disclose their work to the Justice Department.

Ekim Alptekin, a Turkish businessman who hired Flynn's firm, said the filing had been made in response to pressure from Justice Department officials in recent weeks. 

Mr Flynn's company had previously disclosed to Congress that it worked for Inovo BV, a Dutch-based company owned by Mr Alptekin.

But neither Flynn nor his company had previously filed paperwork with the Justice Department.

In mid-September the company was invited by Mr Alptekin to meet with Turkish officials in New York.

Among those officials, the documents said, were Turkey's ministers of foreign affairs and energy.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, has accused cleric Fethullah Gulen of orchestrating an aborted coup and called for his extradition from the US.

According to the Department of Justice documents Flynn Intel's work involved collecting information about Gulen and pressuring US officials to take action against the cleric.

Asked if the president had known about Mr Flynn's connection to Turkey before appointing him Sean Spicer, the White House spokesman, said: "I don't believe that was known."

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