Bharara questions Putin’s role in Erdoğan regime’s ties to Flynn

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Preet Bharara, (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP)

Preet Bharara, the former US attorney who used to oversee the case of jailed Iranian-Turkish gold trader Reza Zarrab, said the Russians, who had recruited former national security advisor Michael Flynn, might have introduced him to the Turkish government.

“Some Mike Flynn questions: After Flynn was recruited by the Russians, did [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s regime introduce & vouch for him to [President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan’s regime in Turkey? What’s the role of Erdogan as junior partner in Russia’s game plan in the US?” Bharara tweeted on Sunday.

“Maybe [special counsel Robert] Mueller’s probe will answer such questions,” he added.

Bharara, the US attorney for the southern district of New York who indicted Turkish-Iranian gold trader Zarrab on charges of violation of US sanctions on Iran, was fired by US President Donald Trump on March 11.

In addition to his ties with Russia, Flynn’s relations with the Turkish government are also under investigation.

The US special counsel is investigating work performed by Flynn on a documentary targeting Turkish Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen and financed by Turkish interests as part of a probe into whether Flynn concealed financial ties to Russia and Turkey, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

According to the report the FBI is planning to interview consultants hired by Flynn to work on the unfinished film attacking Gülen, a cleric living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania who the Turkish government accuses of masterminding a failed coup in Turkey last year. Gülen and the movement he inspired have denied any involvement in the attempt.

The documentary was part of Flynn’s work for Turkish interests while he served on Donald Trump’s election campaign last year, with his company signing a $530,000 contract with a Turkish businessman close to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Flynn and his business partner, Bijan Kian, hired consultants to produce the film but sought to conceal the role of Flynn’s company, Flynn Intel Group, in the project, the WSJ reported.

Flynn belatedly filed documents with the Justice Department in March showing that he had been paid to represent Turkish interests and is now under investigation for possibly improperly concealing his financial ties to Turkey and Russia.

Special counsel Mueller is also investigating whether Flynn and his son discussed with Turkish representatives the forcible removal of Gülen to Turkey in return for up to $15 million, allegations denied by Flynn’s lawyer and the Turkish government.

Flynn’s lawyers stopped cooperating with White House attorneys this week, signaling that Flynn might be sharing information with investigators.

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