Investigators Into US-Russia Ties Turn Attention To Flynn’s Business Partner

According to a person interviewed by the FBI, U.S. investigators in the probe looking into former national security advisor Michael Flynn’s Russian connections have now begun to focus on Flynn’s former business partner Bijan Kian, although their interest in Kian has not been previously reported.

Not only that, but they are also looking at whether payments Flynn and his company, the now-inactive Flynn Intel Group, received from foreign clients were also lawful, including payments from three Russian companies and Inovo, a Dutch-based company controlled by Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin, according to two separate sources with knowledge of Flynn’s business dealings.

It is still unclear whether the FBI is targeting Kian as part of a criminal investigation or if they are trying to build a more comprehensive understanding of how Michael Flynn’s businesses operated, as apparently, Kian played a central role in securing and overseeing the Inovo contract, according to the two sources. Furthermore, the FBI interviewee claims that agents from the bureau’s Criminal Division enquired just as much about Kian as they did Flynn when it came to the topic of Inovo and their dealings with Alptekin. Both Kian and his lawyer, Robert Trout, have declined to comment, as have the FBI.

The FBI has been investigating whether Flynn’s consulting firm lobbied on behalf of Turkey after being paid $530,000 by Inovo, an amount they may not have properly disclosed. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, who has also been looking into whether Flynn made false statements when applying for security clearance, has also expressed his interest in Kian.

“I have an interest in Bijan Kian and his interactions with General Flynn based on specific documents already obtained by the Committee,” Cummings said in an e-mail to Reuters.

Kian also tapped into connections he made during his five-year tenure as a director at the U.S. Export-Import Bank to woo possible clients on behalf of Flynn, according to one former employee.

Featured image via Mario Tama/Getty Images