Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign as national security adviser for President Donald Trump over contacts with Russian officials before taking office, was a guest speaker at a Volga Dnepr corporate event in 2015, according to documents released Thursday by Democrats on the House Oversight & Reform Committee.
VolgaDnepr Group is a Moscow-based all-cargo airline that operates charter and scheduled flights. It’s fleet includes 747-8 and Antonov-124-100 freighters. The AN-124 is the largest cargo plane in the world and is often used for huge project cargoes such as turbines, helicopters and industrial machinery. It recently transported three satellites to the European spaceport in French Guiana.
Flynn was dismissed after news surfaced that he gave inaccurate information to Vice President Mike Pence about conversations he had during the transition with Russia’s ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak about U.S. sanctions on Russia, which led administration officials to publicly deny that any such contacts occurred. The events have raised questions about whether there was any informal promise to remove sanctions and undercut official U.S. policy while Flynn was still a private citizen, although no evidence of such an arrangement has surfaced so far.
House and Senate intelligence committees are investigating what ties Flynn had with Russian entities prior to the election and as part of a broader look into Russian influence on the presidential election last year.
According to a business ledger posted online by the minority side
in the House Oversight Committee, Flynn received $11,250 from Volga Dnepr on Aug. 19, 2015 after his speaker’s bureau took its commission.
The speaking engagement with Flynn was arranged by U.S.-based Battle Born Munitions, which co-sponsored a Middle East & African Logistical and Security conference in Washington, D.C. with Houston based subsidiary Volga Dnepr Unique Air Cargo, Volga Dnepr Airlines said in a statement provided to American Shipper Magazine. Battle Born went through Leading Authorities Speakers Bureau and Flynn was contracted as keynote speaker due to the nature of the conference.
"At that time General Flynn was a retired military officer, not a member of President Trump’s election team, and his nomination as National Security Adviser more than a year after the conference was not a factor in his being invited as a speaker," the statement said.
In a letter to President Trump and FBI Director Comey
seeking information about whether Flynn had fully disclosed his work on behalf of Russian, Turkish and other foreign agents when being evaluated to lead the National Security Council, ranking member Eljah Cummings, D-Md., noted that the United Nations in 2007 suspended Volga-Dnepr from its approved vendors for inappropriate relations with a Russian official who was criminally prosecuted by the United States for steering lucrative contracts in exchange for large bribes.
Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, also received $33,750 for a speech in Russia to Russian-sponsored television network RT TV, the documents show.