The FBI has extended its corruption probe into the administration of New York City mayor Eric Adams, revealing that on November 2, they raided the homes of another aide and a former Turkish Airlines executive.
This development unfolded alongside a raid on Adams’ top fundraiser as part of the ongoing investigation into an alleged campaign kickback scheme.
Raided Homes and Individuals:
On November 2, federal agents executed search warrants at the New Jersey residences of Rana Abbasova, the director of protocol in the Mayor’s Office for International Affairs, and Cenk Öcal, an ex-Turkish Airlines executive who served on Adams’ transition team.
Abbasova, previously Adam’s liaison to the Turkish community, and Öcal, the former general manager of the New York office of Turkish Airline, were subjects of the FBI’s scrutiny.
Allegations of Improper Conduct:
The mayor’s office had earlier characterized Abbasova as an aide who had ‘acted improperly’ after the FBI seized Adams’ electronics as part of the investigation into an alleged campaign kickback scheme.
Boyd Johnson, the lawyer for Adams’ campaign, confirmed that Abbasova’s reported improper conduct was promptly disclosed to investigators, though specific details were not divulged.
Focus of Investigation:
Abbasova’s alleged misconduct is believed to be linked to an FBI inquiry into whether Adams’ campaign collaborated with a Brooklyn construction company and the Turkish government to funnel foreign money into the campaign.
Sources suggest that Abbasova may have misled federal investigators, and the investigation is centered on text messages discussing the construction of a new Turkish consulate in New York.
Text Message Investigation:
Agents are particularly interested in a September 2021 conversation where Adams discussed the Turkish consulate’s progress.
The Turkish consul, Reyhan Ozgur, informed Adams about the need for a Fire Department certificate, leading Adams to contact the fire chief, Daniel Nigro.
This interaction has become a focal point in the investigation into potential campaign finance violations.
Abbasova’s Role and Bio:
Rana Abbasova, described as fostering diplomatic relationships and managing engagements with foreign dignitaries, allegedly took on a new role as a ‘body person’ in the mayor’s events planning unit, traveling with him.
Contrary to her public-facing role, Abbasova’s alleged involvement in improper conduct has drawn attention.
Adams’ Response and Electronic Device Seizure:
Following the raid on Adams’ top fundraiser, Brianna Suggs, and the subsequent seizure of Adams’ electronic devices, the mayor emphasized his cooperation with the investigation.
Adams stated that he has ‘nothing to hide,’ and the devices were later returned to him.
The FBI’s actions are part of a broader federal investigation into potential corruption within Adams’ administration.
Uncertainties and Ongoing Cooperation:
Adams, a former member of law enforcement, reiterated his expectation for all staff to follow the law and cooperate with investigations.
The U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan overseeing the probe has declined to comment, leaving uncertainties about the investigation’s scope and potential implications for other figures in Adams’ administration or campaign.
The widening of the corruption probe to include additional individuals connected to Adams’ administration raises questions about the extent of potential wrongdoing within the mayor’s circle.
The investigation’s focus on alleged campaign finance violations involving a Turkish construction company and government adds a layer of complexity to the ongoing inquiry.
Adams’ proactive stance on cooperation will likely shape the public’s perception of the investigation’s outcomes.