The former Trump campaign adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to investigators examining Russia’s role in the 2016 election spoke at a conference in Israel last year with the CEO of an Israeli energy company with ties to a Turkish businessman who has been subpoenaed as part of a separate investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
George Papadopoulos was a panelist at the Hadera EnergyTech Conference in April 2016 discussing the potential for the Leviathan natural gas deposits in the Mediterranean Sea off Israel’s coast. Also on that panel was Yigal Landau, the CEO of Ratio Oil, which is part of the consortium exploring Leviathan.
Ratio Oil has a business relationship with Dutch-Turkish businessman Kamil Ekim Alptekin, Buzzfeed reported, citing emails and wire transfers between Alptekin and Ratio. Alptekin attended a separate conference in Israel in November 2016 as a guest of Ratio.
Alptekin told Buzzfeed in June that difficulties with Leviathan led him to hire Flynn’s consulting firm, but also said that he paid Flynn to do research on the exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom the Turkish government has accused of fomenting a coup last year.
Flynn did not register as a paid foreign agent at the time, a decision he corrected retroactively. The question of whether Flynn used his influence as a Trump campaign figure or national security advisor to pressure the government to extradite Gulen despite not registering as a foreign agent is reportedly a subject of federal investigation.
A source close to Alptekin told Buzzfeed that Alptekin had no ties to Papadopoulos and that it was a coincidence that both were tied to the Leviathan project.