The special counsel on the Russia investigation has expanded its probe to include the former business partner of ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Reuters reported federal investigators are looking into the role of Bijan Kian.

In particular, the probers are checking the legality of payments from foreign clients to Flynn and the Flynn Intel Group, the company the former adviser established but is now inactive. The firm received payments from three Russian companies and Inovo, a company in The Netherlands run by Ekim Alptekin, a businessman.

Kian’s role in securing Inovo contract

The FBI is interested in the role Kian played in securing and supervising the Inovo contract. Two people familiar with the probe, however, said it is not clear if the business partner of Flynn is the target of the criminal investigation or if probers want to acquire a better understanding of the manner the Flynn Intel Group was run.

Like others within the FBI scrutiny, Kian got a lawyer for the Russia investigation, Robert Trout. Flynn has his own lawyer, Robert Kelner. In May, Alptekin told Reuters the work performed by the Flynn Intel Group, which cost Inovo $530,000, satisfied him. He denied any wrongdoing on the part of Inovo. The investigation focused on the possibility the consulting company, owned by Flynn, lobbied on behalf of Turkey without full disclosure.

Interest in Kian spurred by documents obtained by House Committee

Elijah Cummings, a top Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said his interest in Kian’s role was piqued by special documents the committee obtained on Kian’s interaction with Flynn, The Hill reported. Kian describes his role as a rainmaker for Flynn in private conversations with potential clients.

He used to be a board director at the U.S. Export-Import Bank for five years. Kian used in the Flynn Intel Group the connections he established as a board director of the bank.

Inovo hired the Flynn Intel Group to research the activities of Fethullah Gulen in the U.S., which Alptekin suspected, damaged relations between Ankara and Washington.

He blamed the Turkish coup on followers of Gulen, a Turkish preacher and founder of the Gulen movement.

When Kian was in Virginia in October, he took advantage of his trip to the U.S. to get a congressional hearing on Gulen. Kian flew to the U.S. to invite House Homeland Security Committee staff to the headquarters of Flynn’s Virginia office to show them a new mobile phone security technology. The meeting of the Flynn Intel Group officers with Turkish officials spurred Mueller’s team to seek a fuller disclosure from Kian.