Kamil Ekim Alptekin

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Kamil Ekim Alptekin (born 1977)[1] is a Turkish businessman with real estate, aerospace, and consulting interests. He is the current Chairman of the Turkey-U.S. Business Council (TAİK) and an advocate for improved Turkish-American relations.[2] His payments to Michael T. Flynn for research and lobbying work against the Gülen movement are central to an ongoing political controversy in American politics.[3][4][5] Alptekin was indicted on December 12, 2018 on charges of conspiring to act as an agent of a foreign government and making false statements to investigators.[6]

Early life and education[edit]

Alptekin was raised mostly in the Netherlands, his parents having left Turkey after the 1980 Turkish coup d'état, when he was 4.[1][7] He studied law and economics at Utrecht University, graduating in 2001.[1][7][8]

Career[edit]

He received a nine-month fellowship to work as a staffer on the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs and for Representative Tom Lantos.[1][7] He later worked for the Democrats 66 parliamentary group at the States General of the Netherlands in The Hague.[1][7] He held a one year fellowship at the INTERPOL Counter-Terrorism Fusion Centre in Lyon.[7] He was a senior fellow with the Humanity in Action non-profit, and founder of the Frieda Menco Foundation.[1][8]

In 2005 Alptekin began a business providing counter-terrorism equipment and consulting services to the government of Turkey, including video surveillance cameras for police helicopters.[7][9] He is involved in real estate development along the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul.[7]

He serves as an Honorary Consul to the Republic of Albania.[8]

Eclipse[edit]

When Eclipse Aviation Corporation filed for bankruptcy, Alptekin and his partners attempted to buy it out with financing provided by the Russian state bank Vnesheconombank and a loan personally approved by Vladimir Putin.[9] The Russian government financing ultimately fell through, and instead Alptekin and his partners bought Eclipse Aviation for $40 million, using it to found Eclipse Aerospace.[7][9][10][11] Under Alptekin, Eclipse Aerospace began producing the Eclipse 550 very light jet, partnering with Sikorsky Aircraft.[11][12]

Inovo BV[edit]

Inovo BV, the Dutch corporation he owns, is the sole Turkish representative in Ratio Oil Exploration, which is the Israeli firm exploring the Leviathan gas field in the Mediterranean Sea.[7][13] Ratio has denied that it has any affiliation with Alptekin or Inovo BV, though BuzzFeed News has produced evidence documenting a relationship dating back to at least early 2016.[14][15][16]

Lobbying against Gülenism[edit]

Following the 2016 Turkish coup d'état attempt, Alptekin began soliciting lobbyists in the United States in order to reduce support for Fethullah Gülen and the Gülen movement.[7][17] One of those firms was Flynn Intel Group, which was paid at least $530,000 for its efforts.[7][18]

According to U.S. prosecutors, Alptekin and Bijan Rafiekian worked on behalf of the Government of Turkey in order to secure Gülen's extradition.[6]

Investigation and charges[edit]

As part of his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections, special prosecutor Robert Mueller assumed control of a Virginia-based grand jury criminal probe into the relationship between Flynn and Alptekin's Inovo BV.[19]

In December 2018, Alptekin and Bijan Rafiekian were indicted on charges of a conspiracy to violate federal lobbying rules, and Alptekin was also charged with making false statements to FBI investigators.[20][21]

In April 2019, Alptekin was referred to in the Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election, otherwise known as the Mueller Report. The report cited the result of the United States v. Bijan Rafiekian and Kamil Ekim Alptekin as a part of the criminal conduct of Michael Flynn.[22]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Liberal International Turkey fact-finding mission 27-30 March, 2008" (PDF). Liberal International. p. 11. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 27, 2017.
  2. ^ "ABOUT TAİK". Turkey-U.S. Business Council. The current Chairman of the Business Council is Ekim Alptekin, the Chairman of EA Group.
  3. ^ Buncombe, Andrew. "Donald Trump's national security chief 'took money from Putin and Erdogan', says former NSA employee".
  4. ^ "LOBBYING REGISTRATION".
  5. ^ "Foreign Agent Registration Statement" (PDF).
  6. ^ a b Gillis, James P.; Turgeon, Evan N. (December 12, 2018). "Case 1:18-cr-00457-AJT Document 1". United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Retrieved December 17, 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Daragahi, Borzou (June 20, 2017). "The Man At The Center Of This Trump Scandal Wants To Clear His Name". BuzzFeed News.
  8. ^ a b c "K. Ekim Alptekin". American-Turkish Council. Archived from the original on June 27, 2017.
  9. ^ a b c Arnsdorf, Isaac (April 25, 2017). "Flynn's Turkish lobbying linked to Russia". Politico. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  10. ^ Pehlivan, İlker (December 28, 2010). "Turkish investor to produce light jets in Turkey". Hürriyet Daily News. Archived from the original on May 16, 2017. Ekim Alptekin bought Eclipse Aviation after the company announced bankruptcy.
  11. ^ a b P.C. (November 22, 2011). "Air taxis: The return of the Eclipse". The Economist. Archived from the original on November 23, 2011.
  12. ^ Sarsfield, Kate (April 16, 2012). "IN FOCUS: EA Aerospace puts Eclipse on the map". Flightglobal. Archived from the original on June 27, 2017.
  13. ^ Rotlevy, Ligad (June 28, 2016). "Ratio" (PDF). DocumentCloud. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 27, 2017. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  14. ^ Daragahl, Borzou (June 26, 2017). "Evidence Ties Israeli Firm To Turkish Businessman At Heart Of Flynn Scandal, Despite Denials". BuzzFeed News. Archived from the original on June 27, 2017. Retrieved June 27, 2017. An Israeli energy firm says it “did not employ the services” of Turkish businessman Kamil Ekim Alptekin. But photos, emails, and other documents show a relationship lasting nearly a year.
  15. ^ Azran, Eran (June 27, 2017). "Report: Turk With Alleged Links to Michael Flynn Was Also Retained by Israeli Firm". Haaretz. Retrieved June 27, 2017. Ratio executives didn't respond to BuzzFeed queries but a spokeswoman for the company told TheMarker, the Haaretz business daily, that "the company never retained Mr. Ekim Alpetkin's services."
  16. ^ Gold, Matea. "The mystery behind a Flynn associate's quiet work for the Trump campaign".
  17. ^ Zaman, Amberin (March 10, 2017). "Questions surround Turkish businessman at center of Flynn controversy". Al-Monitor. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  18. ^ Schouten, Fredreka. "Turkish client paid $530,000 to Michael Flynn's consulting firm".
  19. ^ Layne, Nathan; Hosenball, Mark; Ainsley, Julia Edwards (June 2, 2017). Krolicki, Kevin; Colvin, Ross (eds.). "Exclusive: Special counsel Mueller to probe ex-Trump aide Flynn's Turkey ties". Reuters. Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating possible ties between the Trump election campaign and Russia, is expanding his probe to assume control of a grand jury investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, three sources told Reuters [...] Federal prosecutors in Virginia are investigating a deal between Flynn and Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin as part of a grand jury criminal probe, according to a subpoena seen by Reuters.
  20. ^ Kocieniewski, David; Voreacos, David (December 17, 2018). "Flynn's Work for Turkey Laid Out in Charges Against Two Others". Bloomberg News.
  21. ^ "Two Men Charged with Conspiracy and Acting as Agents of a Foreign Government". United States Department of Justice. December 17, 2018. An indictment was unsealed today charging Bijan Rafiekian, aka Bijan Kian, 66, of San Juan Capistrano, California, and Kamil Ekim Alptekin, 41, of Istanbul, and a Turkish national, with conspiracy, acting in the United States as illegal agents of the government of Turkey, and making false statements to the FBI.
  22. ^ Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election