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Turkish businessman who testified before Mueller sued for racketeering

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Robert Mueller testifies before Congress (screengrab)

A Turkish-American entrepreneur subpoenaed by special counsel Robert Mueller has been sued for racketeering.

Yalcin Ayasli, who founded the airline BoraJet, accused Sezgin Baran Korkmaz, who has ties to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, of taking over the now-defunct airline through violence and extortion, reported Courthouse News.

The lawsuit intersects with two cases under criminal investigations in the U.S. — a more than $500 million money laundering scheme in Utah and a Turkish influence campaign in Virginia that involves Michael Flynn.

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Ayasli’s lawsuit alleges that Korkmaz’s Istanbul-based company SBK Holdings used money laundered through a biofuel tax credit scheme to buy out BoraJet after driving down the prices as part of an intimidation campaign.

Brothers Isaiah and Jacob Kingston, who lead a polygamist Mormon sect, have been charged with scamming the U.S. Treasury out of tax credits and diverting up to $210 million into Turkey.

Ayasli alleges that Korkmaz used some of that money to scoop up his airline after driving the cost of the carrier into the ground through thuggish tactics.

Korkmaz claims the lawsuit, which accuses him of assault and threatening to rape and murder a woman who worked for Ayasli, was simply payback by angry BoraJet executives.

“I have done absolutely nothing wrong other than objecting against being embezzled,” he told Courthouse News.

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Korkmaz was called to testify last year before Mueller, but it’s not clear what he told investigators.

He has documented business dealings in Russia through SBK Holdings, but a 2014 preliminary agreement to build a bridge from Russia to Crimea eventually fell through.

Ayasli alleges in his lawsuit that Korkmaz used the subpoena to further intimidate him by giving the false impression that he was politically connected to Mueller and could exert political influence in the U.S., as well as Turkey.

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