Former Ex-Im Bank Director under investigation for undisclosed foreign agent contract

(Newsweek, Washington, 20 June 2017) Federal investigators probing the lobbying work of ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn are focused in part on the role of Bijan Kian, Flynn’s former business partner, according to a person interviewed by the FBI. In private conversations with potential clients, Kian portrayed himself as a rainmaker for Flynn, tapping into connections cultivated during a five-year tenure as a director at the U.S. Export-Import Bank, according to one person who worked with the firm. Inovo, a Netherlands-based company controlled by Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin, hired Flynn Intel Group to research Fethullah Gulen’s activities in the United States, which he suspected were “poisoning” relations between the United States and Turkey. Like Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan, Alptekin blamed the coup on followers of Gulen. Kian played a central role in securing and overseeing the Inovo contract, two people with knowledge of that project said. The FBI has been investigating whether Flynn’s consulting firm lobbied on behalf of Turkey - after being paid $530,000 by Inovo - without making the proper disclosure under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.