By David L. Phillips
Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, a Trump national security adviser, has been paid by Turkish money laundered through a Dutch company to lobby on behalf of the Turkish government. More than bad judgment, Flynn’s egregious conduct raises ethical questions. It also casts doubt on his suitability for public office.
The Flynn Intel Group signed a contract with the Dutch company, Inovo BV, on September 15. The contract requires Flynn to lobby on appropriations bills for the departments of State and Defense. Flynn’s duties also include keeping his client informed about “the transition between President Obama and President-Elect Trump.”
Inovo BV is thinly capitalized and operates in deficit on an ongoing basis. Did Flynn vet Inovo BV before signing his deal? Was he willfully ignorant about where the money was coming from?
Inovo BV is a front organization for Inovo Turkije, which profits from contracts with the Turkish government. Ekim Alptek, a close associate of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, founded both Inovo BV and Inovo Turkije. Alptekin is chairman of the Turkish-American Business Council, an arm of the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey, whose members are designated by the Economy Minister and the Turkish Grand National Assembly.
If Flynn knew about Alptekin’s ties to the Turkish government, he violated US law by failing to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), and declaring himself a foreign agent.