Turkish officials meet with Trump associates to lobby for Erdogan

The Trump Timeline

Sources linked at end of page.

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Brian Ballard, a lobbyist and member of Trump’s Presidential Inaugural Committee, meets officials from Turkey at Washington, DC’s Watergate Hotel.

Ballard is joined by Trump / Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, Turkish-Azerbaijani billionaire and Palmali Group founder Mübariz Mansimov, Turkey foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, and other Turkey officials.

It has perhaps been the most successful foreign lobbying effort of the Trump presidency — no mean feat for an administration mired from the beginning in foreign influence scandals… The warm relationship that followed would see Trump administration officials, and the president himself, make decisions that baffled advisers who believed they put Erdogan’s interests over America’s.

OCCRP

According to reporters from three media outlets involved in a 2020 investigation, Turkey influences foreign countries similar to Russia’s own operations: via an international network of businessmen and oligarchs.

The meeting focuses on a lobbying effort for Islamist Turkey President Tayyip Erdogan, which later becomes two multi-million-dollar contracts developed with the help of Farkhad Akhmedov. Akhmedov is a Russian oligarch that the U.S. Treasury has tied directly to Vladimir Putin.

Included in the future contracts is an agreement for Ballard’s firm, Ballard Partners, to represent Turkish state bank Halkbank for $125,000 per month. This deal is arranged months following the meeting as Halkbank faces prosecution for money laundering, fraud, and operations to subvert U.S. sanctions.

At the same time, Turkish oligarchs are involved in an overlapping influence campaign for which they illegally hired Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and discussed a $10 million scheme with another Trump adviser.

The Ballard meeting is arranged by Lev Parnas with Mübariz Mansimov. The duo were introduced through Parnas associate Igor Fruman in December 2016.

Mansimov and one of the oligarchs working with Flynn partners of Lev Dermen, an Armenian-American organized crime member who is convicted in a $500 million oil fraud scheme in 2020. Dermen avoided repercussions for past crimes in the U.S. thanks to an unexplained relationship with state law enforcement. Federal agents with the IRS claim they can tie Dermen directly to President Erdogan.

Sources

https://www.occrp.org/en/investigations/behind-trumps-turkish-bromance-oligarchs-crooks-and-a-multi-million-dollar-lobbying-deal

https://assets.bwbx.io/documents/users/iqjWHBFdfxIU/rJRW6xrdtLJE/v0

https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/polygamist-partner-fraud-scheme-offered-protection-68814537

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-03-16/los-angeles-petroleum-magnate-lev-dermen-convicted-biofuel-tax-scheme

Photo: Public Domain

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