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Wednesday Jul 11 2018
By
AFP

Ex-US national security adviser Flynn joins Qatar lobby firm

By
AFP
Michael Flynn, the then-White House national security advisor, at the White House in Washington, US, February 13, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/Files

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump's former national security advisor Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty as part of a probe into possible collusion between Russia and Trump's 2016 election campaign, has joined a Washington firm that lobbies for Qatar, the firm announced Tuesday.

Flynn will be the director of global strategy at Stonington Global LLC.

Prior to his guilty plea late last year, Flynn had been forced out from his national security advisor post, after only 22 days, over concerns that he could be compromised by false statements he made over his contacts with Russian officials and his paid lobbying for Turkey during the campaign.

Prior to that, he had been fired by Barack Obama as defence intelligence chief.

"The general's uniquely American story and his commitment to national security, freedom and counter-terrorism are an inspiration to millions of Americans, and we are excited to work with him to promote these values around the world," said company founder Nick Muzin.

Muzin and co-founder Joey Allaham said they will "build on their success of representing the State of Qatar, which in the course of eight months saw the Gulf Emirate go from isolation, blockade and presidential criticism, to the strengthening of the US-Qatari security and economic relationship."

Muzin, who was a fundraiser on Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, also advised a reportedly Russian-supported right-wing political party in Albania.

Stonington describes its strategy as helping "domestic and international clients navigate global equity markets and facilitate interactions with governments."

Flynn was a close advisor to Trump during the presidential campaign and was named to lead the White House national security council after Trump won the election.

But he fell under investigation over his secret discussions with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak before Trump became president in January 2017.

That investigation expanded to his receiving tens of thousands of dollars by Russian firms to appear at events, and his undeclared lobbying for Turkey during the 2016 presidential campaign, for which he reportedly earned more than $500,000.

Facing potentially severe charges that included acting as an unregistered lobbyist, Flynn agreed on December 1, 2017, to plead guilty to a single count of lying to investigators in exchange for cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into possible links between the Trump campaign and Russia.

On Tuesday, he appeared in a Washington court to discuss his sentencing, which has been repeatedly postponed by Mueller as he apparently continues to draw on Flynn's cooperation in the probe.

Canadian-born Muzin is a veteran consultant for US Republicans and advised Senator Ted Cruz on his failed campaign for president in 2016. He then worked on the Trump campaign and the post-election transition team.

In 2017 he began lobbying for Qatar, helping the country blunt pressure from a Saudi-led campaign to isolate it over accusations that the gas-rich emirate bankrolled extremists and fostered ties with Saudi arch-rival Iran. 

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