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Questions surround Turkish businessman at center of Flynn controversy

Michael Flynn is facing criticism for lobbying for Ankara prior to President Donald Trump’s inauguration, but the Turkish businessman who hired the disgraced former national security adviser told Al-Monitor he did not use government funds to pay Flynn.
National security adviser General Michael Flynn arrives to deliver a statement during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington U.S., February 1, 2017. Picture taken February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria - RTSYJAX
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Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s short-lived former national security adviser whose contacts with Russia cost him his job, is embroiled in a fresh controversy after telling the Justice Department that his consulting firm, Flynn Intel Group, was hired by a Turkish businessman to do work that “could be construed to have principally benefitted the Republic of Turkey.”

The retired general’s decision to provide details of the relationship to the department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) stressing that his firm had not received any payment from the government of Turkey was apparently calculated to pre-empt any suggestion of wrongdoing. But it has had the opposite effect. Vice President Mike Pence told Fox News that it was the first he had heard of the former National Security Agency chief’s Turkey ties. “I think it's an affirmation of the president’s decision to ask Gen. Flynn to resign,” he said.

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