Washington, DC - The former president of a Texas-based non-profit has been charged in an indictment unsealed Monday 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, 48, previously a resident of Arlington, Virginia, allegedly lied on disclosure forms filed with the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ethics prior to, and following, a privately sponsored Congressional trip to Azerbaijan. According to the indictment, Oksuz allegedly 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. According to the charges, Oksuz in truth orchestrated 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 allegedly concealed the true source of funding, which is alleged to violate House travel regulations.
The five-count indictment was returned earlier this year in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and ordered unsealed today. It charges Oksuz with one count of devising a scheme to falsify, conceal, and cover up material facts from the Ethics Committee and four counts of making false statements to Congress.
Oksuz is considered a fugitive. A warrant for his arrest was issued earlier this year and remains outstanding. Oksuz was recently detained by authorities in Armenia.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Marco Palmieri of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney David Misler of the District of Columbia.
An indictment contains only allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.