Lobbyist pleads guilty to lying about U.S. lawmakers’ trip to Baku

Lobbyist pleads guilty to lying about U.S. lawmakers’ trip to Baku

PanARMENIAN.Net - Kemal Oksuz, the Azerbaijani lobbyist who was jailed in Armenia and later extradited to the United States on Monday, Dec. 10 pleaded guilty for his role in a scheme to conceal the fact that a 2013 Congressional trip to Azerbaijan was funded by the Azerbaijan government.

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu for the District of Columbia and Assistant Director in Charge Nancy McNamara of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement.

Kemal Oksuz, aka “Kevin Oksuz,” 49, and previously a resident of Arlington, Virginia, pleaded guilty to one count of devising a scheme to falsify, conceal and cover up material facts from the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ethics. Oksuz will be sentenced on Feb. 11, 2019 before U.S. District Court Judge Tanya S. Chutkan for the District of Columbia.

According to admissions made in connection with his guilty plea, Oksuz lied on disclosure forms filed with the Ethics Committee prior to, and following, a privately sponsored Congressional trip to Azerbaijan. Oksuz falsely represented and certified on required disclosure forms that the Turquoise Council of Americans and Eurasions (TCAE), the Houston non-profit for which Oksuz was president, had not accepted funding for the Congressional trip from any outside sources. Oksuz admitted to, in truth, orchestrating a scheme to funnel money to fund the trip from the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR), the wholly state-owned national oil and gas company of Azerbaijan, and then concealed the true source of funding, which violated House travel regulations.

“We are particularly gratified that the ANCA’s early advocacy for the public release of the closely-held Congressional Ethics Office report helped bring this scandal to the public’s attention, contributing to today’s guilty plea,” said Aram Suren Hamparian, the executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America.

“The more sunshine the better everyone can see the vast asymmetry between the ANCA’s civic advocacy and Aliyev’s foreign bribery,” added Hamparian.

A five-count indictment was returned earlier this year in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and ordered unsealed in September. Oksuz was recently extradited from Armenia where he was detained by authorities, pursuant to a warrant that was issued for his arrest.

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