Score:   1
Docket Number:   ED-VA  1:18-cr-00457
Case Name:   USA v. Rafiekian et al
  Press Releases:
After three hours of deliberations a federal jury convicted a California man today on charges of conspiring to act as an agent of a foreign government, conspiring to make false statements and willful omissions in a FARA filing, and acting as an agent of a foreign government.

John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and John P. Selleck, Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga accepted the verdict.

“Today’s verdict should stand as a deterrent to any malign foreign influence that undermines the integrity of our political processes,” Assistant Attorney General John Demers said. “Through misrepresentations in his FARA filing, Mr. Rafiekian attempted to deceive the public and influence key leaders on behalf of Turkey. The Department of Justice treats these crimes with the gravity that they deserve.”

“Rafiekian was held accountable for his actions and found guilty by a jury of his peers,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “I want to thank the investigators and prosecutors for their thorough investigation, extensive briefing, and commitment to this case.”

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Bijan Rafiekian, 67, of San Juan Capistrano, California, along with his co-conspirator, Kamil Ekim Alptekin, 42, of Istanbul, a Turkish national with close ties to the highest levels of the Government of Turkey, were involved in a conspiracy to covertly influence United States politicians and public opinion against a Turkish national, Fethullah Gulen, who is living in the United States.  The Government of Turkey had filed two extradition requests for Gulen, and has been trying to convince the Department of Justice to extradite Gulen back to Turkey since 2015. The conspiracy included using the Flynn Intel Group (FIG), a company founded by Rafiekian and Michael T. Flynn, which provided services based upon Flynn’s national security expertise.

According to court documents, the purpose of the conspiracy was to use FIG to delegitimize the Turkish citizen in the eyes of the American public and United States politicians, with the goal of obtaining his extradition, which was meeting resistance at the U.S. Department of Justice. At the same time, the conspirators sought to conceal that the Government of Turkey was directing the work. However, not only was Rafiekian told by Alptekin that Turkish cabinet-level officials had approved the budget for the project, but Alptekin also told Rafiekian that he provided the Turkish officials updates on the work. Rafiekian understood that Alptekin was relaying the Turkish officials’ directions on the work to Rafiekian, Flynn, and others at FIG.

According to court documents, the scheme included using a Dutch shell company, Inovo, owned by Alptekin to act as FIG’s “client.” FIG was paid $600,000 in three installments from an account in Turkey in Alptekin’s name. After Alptekin made the payments to FIG, FIG kicked back 20 percent of the payments to Alptekin’s company in the Netherlands, with two such kickbacks being made.

Rafiekian faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison when sentenced on October 18. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

 Assistant U.S. Attorneys James P. Gillis, John T. Gibbs, Aidan T. Grano, Trial Attorney Evan N. Turgeon of the Department of Justice’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, and Special Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie K. Sweeten are prosecuting the case.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – After three hours of deliberations a federal jury convicted a California man today on charges of conspiring to act as an agent of a foreign government, conspiring to make false statements and willful omissions in a FARA filing, and acting as an agent of a foreign government.

“Rafiekian was held accountable for his actions and found guilty by a jury of his peers,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “I want to thank the investigators and prosecutors for their thorough investigation, extensive briefing, and commitment to this case.”

“Today’s verdict should stand as a deterrent to any malign foreign influence that undermines the integrity of our political processes,” Assistant Attorney General John Demers said. “Through misrepresentations in his FARA filing, Mr. Rafiekian attempted to deceive the public and influence key leaders on behalf of Turkey. The Department of Justice treats these crimes with the gravity that they deserve.”

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Bijan Rafiekian, 67, of San Juan Capistrano, California, along with his co-conspirator, Kamil Ekim Alptekin, 42, of Istanbul, a Turkish national with close ties to the highest levels of the Government of Turkey, were involved in a conspiracy to covertly influence United States politicians and public opinion against a Turkish national, Fethullah Gulen, who is an imam, writer, and political figure living in the United States.  The Government of Turkey had filed two extradition requests for Gulen, and has been trying to convince the Department of Justice to extradite Gulen back to Turkey since 2015. The plot included using the Flynn Intel Group (FIG), a company founded by Rafiekian and Michael T. Flynn, which provided services based upon Flynn’s national security expertise.

According to court documents, the purpose of the conspiracy was to use FIG to delegitimize the Turkish citizen in the eyes of the American public and United States politicians, with the goal of obtaining his extradition, which was meeting resistance at the U.S. Department of Justice. At the same time, the conspirators sought to conceal that the Government of Turkey was directing the work. However, not only was Rafiekian told by Alptekin that Turkish cabinet-level officials had approved the budget for the project, but Alptekin also told Rafiekian that he provided the Turkish officials updates on the work. Rafiekian understood that Alptekin was relaying the Turkish officials’ directions on the work to Rafiekian, Flynn, and others at FIG.

According to court documents, the scheme included using a Dutch shell company, Inovo, owned by Alptekin to act as FIG’s “client.” FIG was paid $600,000 in three installments from an account in Turkey in Alptekin’s name. After Alptekin made the payments to FIG, FIG kicked back 20 percent of the payments to Alptekin’s company in the Netherlands, with two such kickbacks being made.

Rafiekian faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison when sentenced on October 18. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, and John P. Selleck, Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga accepted the verdict. Assistant U.S. Attorneys James P. Gillis, John T. Gibbs, Aidan T. Grano, Trial Attorney Evan N. Turgeon of the Department of Justice’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie K. Sweeten are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:18-cr-457.

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.

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Assistant Director in Charge Nancy McNamara of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement.

According to allegations in the indictment, the two men were involved in a conspiracy to covertly influence U.S. politicians and public opinion against a Turkish citizen living in the United States whose extradition had been requested by the Government of Turkey. The plot included using a company founded by Rafiekian and a person referred to as “Person A” in the indictment. The company, referred to as “Company A” in the indictment, provided services based upon Person A’s national security expertise.

The indictment charges that the purpose of the conspiracy was to use Company A to delegitimize the Turkish citizen in the eyes of the American public and United States politicians, with the goal of obtaining his extradition, which was meeting resistance at the U.S. Department of Justice. At the same time, the conspirators sought to conceal that the Government of Turkey was directing the work. However, not only did Turkish cabinet-level officials approve the budget for the project, but Alptekin provided the Turkish officials updates on the work, and relayed their directions on the work to Rafiekian, Person A, and others at Company A.

According to allegations in the indictment, the scheme included using a Dutch company owned by Alptekin to appear to be the “client” of Company A and to pay the company’s fee of $600,000, which was to be paid in three installments. Alptekin made the payments from an account in Turkey. The indictment alleges that after Alptekin made the payments to Company A, it was to kick back 20 percent of the payments to Alptekin’s company in the Netherlands, and two such kickbacks were made.

Rafiekian is charged with conspiracy and acting in the United States as an illegal agent of the government of Turkey.  If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison for the conspiracy charge, and 10 years in prison for the charge of acting as an agent of a foreign government.

Alptekin is charged with conspiracy, acting in the United States as an illegal agent of the government of Turkey, and four counts of making false statements to the FBI.  If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison for the conspiracy charge, 10 years in prison for the charge of acting as an agent of a foreign government, and 5 years in prison for each of the four false statement charges.

The maximum statutory sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes.  If convicted of any offense, the sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Assistant U.S. Attorney James P. Gillis of the Eastern District of Virginia and Trial Attorney Evan N. Turgeon of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section are prosecuting the case.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – An indictment was unsealed today charging two men with conspiracy, acting in the United States as unregistered agents of the government of Turkey, and making false statements to the FBI.

According to allegations in the indictment, Bijan Rafiekian, aka Bijan Kian, 66, of San Juan Capistrano, California, and Kamil Ekim Alptekin, 41, of Istanbul, a Turkish national with close ties to the highest levels of the Government of Turkey, were involved in a conspiracy to covertly influence United States politicians and public opinion against a Turkish citizen living in the United States whose extradition had been requested by the Government of Turkey. The plot included using a company founded by Rafiekian and a person referred to as “Person A” in the indictment. The company, referred to as “Company A” in the indictment, provided services based upon Person A’s national security expertise.

The indictment charges that the purpose of the conspiracy was to use Company A to delegitimize the Turkish citizen in the eyes of the American public and United States politicians, with the goal of obtaining his extradition, which was meeting resistance at the U.S. Department of Justice. At the same time, the conspirators sought to conceal that the Government of Turkey was directing the work. However, not only did Turkish cabinet-level officials approve the budget for the project, but Alptekin provided the Turkish officials updates on the work, and relayed their directions on the work to Rafiekian, Person A, and others at Company A.

According to allegations in the indictment, the scheme included using a Dutch company owned by Alptekin to appear to be the “client” of Company A and to pay the company’s fee of $600,000, which was to be paid in three installments. Alptekin made the payments from an account in Turkey. The indictment alleges that after Alptekin made the payments to Company A, it was to kick back 20 percent of the payments to Alptekin’s company in the Netherlands, and two such kickbacks were made.

Rafiekian is charged with conspiracy and acting in the United States as an unregistered agent of the government of Turkey.  If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison for the conspiracy charge and 10 years in prison for the charge of acting as an agent of a foreign government.

Alptekin is charged with conspiracy, acting in the United States as an unregistered agent of the government of Turkey, and four counts of making false statements to the FBI.  If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison for the conspiracy charge, 10 years in prison for the charge of acting as an agent of a foreign government, and 5 years in prison for each of the four false statement charges.

Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, and Nancy McNamara, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney James P. Gillis and Trial Attorney Evan N. Turgeon of the Department of Justice’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:18-cr-457.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Description: The fiscal year of the data file obtained from the AOUSC
Format: YYYY

Description: The code of the federal judicial circuit where the case was located
Format: A2

Description: The code of the federal judicial district where the case was located
Format: A2

Description: The code of the district office where the case was located
Format: A2

Description: Docket number assigned by the district to the case
Format: A7

Description: A unique number assigned to each defendant in a case which cannot be modified by the court
Format: A3

Description: A unique number assigned to each defendant in a case which can be modified by the court
Format: A3

Description: A sequential number indicating whether a case is an original proceeding or a reopen
Format: N5

Description: Case type associated with the current defendant record
Format: A2

Description: A concatenation of district, office, docket number, case type, defendant number, and reopen sequence number
Format: A18

Description: A concatenation of district, office, docket number, case type, and reopen sequence number
Format: A15

Description: The status of the defendant as assigned by the AOUSC
Format: A2

Description: A code indicating the fugitive status of a defendant
Format: A1

Description: The date upon which a defendant became a fugitive
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date upon which a fugitive defendant was taken into custody
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date when a case was first docketed in the district court
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date upon which proceedings in a case commenced on charges pending in the district court where the defendant appeared, or the date of the defendant’s felony-waiver of indictment
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: A code used to identify the nature of the proceeding
Format: N2

Description: The date when a defendant first appeared before a judicial officer in the district court where a charge was pending
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: A code indicating the event by which a defendant appeared before a judicial officer in the district court where a charge was pending
Format: A2

Description: A code indicating the type of legal counsel assigned to a defendant
Format: N2

Description: The title and section of the U.S. Code applicable to the offense committed which carried the highest severity
Format: A20

Description: A code indicating the level of offense associated with FTITLE1
Format: N2

Description: The four digit AO offense code associated with FTITLE1
Format: A4

Description: The four digit D2 offense code associated with FTITLE1
Format: A4

Description: A code indicating the severity associated with FTITLE1
Format: A3

Description: The title and section of the U.S. Code applicable to the offense committed which carried the second highest severity
Format: A20

Description: A code indicating the level of offense associated with FTITLE2
Format: N2

Description: The four digit AO offense code associated with FTITLE2
Format: A4

Description: The four digit D2 offense code associated with FTITLE2
Format: A4

Description: A code indicating the severity associated with FTITLE2
Format: A3

Description: The title and section of the U.S. Code applicable to the offense committed which carried the third highest severity
Format: A20

Description: A code indicating the level of offense associated with FTITLE3
Format: N2

Description: The four digit AO offense code associated with FTITLE3
Format: A4

Description: The four digit D2 offense code associated with FTITLE3
Format: A4

Description: A code indicating the severity associated with FTITLE3
Format: A3

Description: The title and section of the U.S. Code applicable to the offense committed which carried the fourth highest severity
Format: A20

Description: A code indicating the level of offense associated with FTITLE4
Format: N2

Description: The four digit AO offense code associated with FTITLE4
Format: A4

Description: The four digit D2 offense code associated with FTITLE4
Format: A4

Description: A code indicating the severity associated with FTITLE4
Format: A3

Description: The FIPS code used to indicate the county or parish where an offense was committed
Format: A5

Description: The date of the last action taken on the record
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date upon which judicial proceedings before the court concluded
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date upon which the final sentence is recorded on the docket
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date upon which the case was closed
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The total fine imposed at sentencing for all offenses of which the defendant was convicted and a fine was imposed
Format: N8

Description: A count of defendants filed including inter-district transfers
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants filed excluding inter-district transfers
Format: N1

Description: A count of original proceedings commenced
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants filed whose proceedings commenced by reopen, remand, appeal, or retrial
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants terminated including interdistrict transfers
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants terminated excluding interdistrict transfers
Format: N1

Description: A count of original proceedings terminated
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants terminated whose proceedings commenced by reopen, remand, appeal, or retrial
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants pending as of the last day of the period including long term fugitives
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants pending as of the last day of the period excluding long term fugitives
Format: N1

Description: The source from which the data were loaded into the AOUSC’s NewSTATS database
Format: A10

Description: A sequential number indicating the iteration of the defendant record
Format: N2

Description: The date the record was loaded into the AOUSC’s NewSTATS database
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: Statistical year ID label on data file obtained from the AOUSC which represents termination year
Format: YYYY

Data imported from FJC Integrated Database
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