Chairman of the Turkey-U.S Business Council (TAİK) Ekim Alptekin has reportedly decided to resign from his post after Special Counsel Robert Mueller included the businessman in an investigation into Russian interference in the US elections.
Alptekin, the sole proprietor of Inovo BV, a Dutch company that paid former national security advisor Michael Flynn’s consulting firm for lobbying on behalf of the Turkish government, had testified to Mueller’s team during his last visit to the US in May.
According to a story in the Hürriyet daily on Saturday, Alptekin will quit his position as chairman of TAİK since he is no longer able to travel to the US upon the recommendation of his lawyers.
Flynn’s company was paid $530,000 by Inovo BV, registered in the Netherlands and owned by Alptekin, to discredit Turkish Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania and who is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup in Turkey last year.
Investigators have been trying to determine if the Turkish government was behind that payment and whether the Flynn Intel Group made kickbacks to Alptekin for helping to conceal the source of the money. Special Counsel Mueller’s team reportedly did not believe Alptekin’s testimony that he paid Flynn himself, not on behalf of the Turkish government.
Prosecutors working under Mueller have been investigating whether Flynn was secretly paid by the Turkish government in the final months of the US presidential campaign last year.