Sunday 24 September 2017

Michael Flynn made £1m for lobbying, speeches and other work

Michael Flynn (Carolyn Kaster/AP)
Michael Flynn (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Former Trump administration national security adviser Michael Flynn has disclosed he earned more than 1.3 million dollars (£1 million) for work for political groups and government contractors, as well as for speeches to Russian companies and lobbying for a firm owned by a Turkish businessman.

Mr Flynn's recent financial history, made available on Saturday by the White House, comes amid his effort to win immunity from congressional probers in exchange for his co-operation with official inquiries into contacts between Russia and President Donald Trump's election campaign in 2016.

The new disclosures show that Mr Flynn declared more than 827,000 dollars (£659,000) from his work for the Flynn Intel Group, a consulting firm that he and partners set up in 2015.

The company filed as a foreign agent last month with the Justice Department, acknowledging that its lobbying work last year probably benefited the government of Turkey even as Mr Flynn was advising Mr Trump's presidential campaign.

The disclosures detail Mr Flynn's financial activities dating back to 2014, including his 2015 work for Russia's state-supported television network and speeches to two other Russian companies.

Mr Flynn has been interviewed by the FBI, which has been investigating allegations of contacts last year between Trump campaign officials and Russian officials and surrogates.

The White House released two filings for Mr Flynn on Saturday.

One was filed while he was still in the administration.

The other was filed on Friday, more than a month after Mr Trump fired Mr Flynn as national security adviser.

Mr Trump has said he asked Mr Flynn to step down because he misled the vice president about a conversation he had with the Russian ambassador to the US during the transition.

Flynn lawyer Robert Kelner said that Mr Flynn's first filing was a draft that normally would have been revised through a consultation between the White House counsel's office and the Office of Government Ethics.

"Because he resigned, that usual consultation process was suspended. When the White House contacted him this week and asked him to complete the process he did so," Mr Kelner said.

The White House on Friday began releasing scores of disclosures from Trump administration officials.

Mr Flynn declared last month in a filing with the Justice Department that his company's lobbying for a Dutch-based firm owned by a Turkish businessman "could be construed to have principally benefited the Republic of Turkey".

Mr Flynn's client, Ekin Alptekin, told the Associated Press that the decision to file as a foreign agent had come under pressure from Justice Department officials.

The Daily Caller reported on Friday that Justice Department officials contacted Mr Flynn on November 30.

A document obtained by the media site under the Freedom of Information Act quoted Justice Department concern about a pre-election op-ed that Mr Flynn authored stressing Turkish government aims and "potential ties between Lt. Gen. Flynn and others who might be acting on behalf of the government of Turkey".

Mr Flynn reported assets worth between 1.2 million dollars (£956,000) and 2.4 million dollars (£1.9 million) during the last year.

He also reported that he served as a consultant for the FBI and received more than 5,000 dollars (£3,985) in compensation from the bureau.

Mr Kelner said the FBI compensation was for a speaking event in 2015 and training Mr Flynn provided to the bureau.

Mr Flynn reported between 750,000 dollars (£598,000) and 1.5 million dollars (£1.2 million) in mortgage debt related to his personal home and a rental property. He also had a line of credit between 15,000 dollars (£12,000) and 50,000 dollars (£39,000), the filing shows.

In a separate filing to the Justice Department last month, Mr Flynn and his business detailed 530,000 dollars (£422,000) worth of lobbying work for Inovo BV, the Turkish firm owned by Alptekin.

On his new disclosure, Mr Flynn said only that he personally earned compensation in excess of 5,000 dollars from Inovo BV.

Mr Flynn's ties to Russia have been scrutinised by the FBI and are under investigation by the House and Senate intelligence committees.

Both committees are looking into Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election and any ties between Trump associates and the Kremlin.

AP

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