Michael Flynn (C)

WASHINGTON- The White House said Thursday it was unaware that former national security advisor Michael Flynn did work to benefit a foreign government before being named to President Donald Trump’s administration.

Flynn had done work last year through his intelligence firm on behalf of a Turkish businessman that could have benefited the Turkish government.

US law requires disclosure of lobbying on behalf of foreign governments and failure to do so is considered a crime.

Flynn retroactively registered with the US government under the law as a foreign agent on Tuesday.

“I don’t believe that that was known,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer said when asked about Flynn’s role.

The disclosure of his foreign lobbying raises further questions about Flynn as Trump’s administration faces ongoing scrutiny over possible ties to Russia.

Flynn resigned from his White House position last month amid questions about his conversations with the Russian ambassador just before sanctions were announced over Russian interference in the US presidential election.

Flynn had worked for Dutch-based Inovo BV as a registered lobbyist.His work was focused on Fethullah Gulen, a US-based cleric sought by theTurkish government and whom it blames for his alleged role in a failed coup last year.

Flynn moved to register as a foreign agent amid concerns that the work had primarily benefited the Turkish government, rather than his private client, according to paperwork filed with the Justice Department. -dpa

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