By Umar Farooq
WASHINGTON (AA) – A high-ranking member of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) pleaded guilty for his role in a scheme to use money funded by the Azerbaijani government to sponsor a trip for congressional members, the Justice Department said Monday.
Kemal Oksuz, who changed his name to Kevin when he received American citizenship, pleaded guilty to one charge of concealing information to the House of Representatives Committee on Ethics.
He was part of a scheme that took members of Congress on what was said to be a privately funded trip to Azerbaijan in 2013, when in reality the money was coming from the government of Azerbaijan.
"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," the Justice Department said in a statement.
Oksuz was previously detained in Armenia in August and extradited to the U.S. pursuant to a warrant regarding committing fraud to Congress.
He served as the president of the Houston-based Turquoise Council of Americans and Eurasians (TCAE), an umbrella organization for FETO's many non-profits in the U.S.
Oksuz will be sentenced Feb. 11 in Washington DC and the investigation was conducted by the FBI.
He is also being sought on FETO membership charges in Turkey.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016 which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.