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Business partner of ex-Trump adviser convicted of secretly lobbying for Turkey

A jury on Tuesday convicted Bijan Rafiekian, who was the business partner of U.S. President Donald Trump’s disgraced former national security adviser Michael Flynn, on charges of secretly lobbying for Turkey, Reuters reports.

Rafiekian, co-founder of the consultancy firm Flynn Intel Group, was accused of conspiring to lobby on Turkey’s behalf to try to persuade the U.S. government to extradite Fetullah Gulen, whom Turkey has blamed for orchestrating a failed coup in 2016.

Rafiekian was indicted in December, along with Ekim Alptekin, a Turkish-Dutch businessman, and was charged on two counts – conspiring to act as an agent of a foreign government and making false statements to the Justice Department, and acting as a foreign agent.

A Justice Department spokesman, Joshua Stueve, said Rafiekian was found guilty on both counts, after a week-long trial in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Sentencing was set for Oct. 18.

Flynn, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general whose brief tenure in 2017 as part of Trump’s inner circle is still causing legal aftershocks, was not charged with Rafiekian.

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