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Michael Flynn Initially Failed to Disclose Payments From Russia-Linked Firms, Docs Show

by Daniel Arkin /  / Updated 
In this Feb. 1, 2017 file photo, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House, in Washington.Carolyn Kaster / AP

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Former national security adviser Michael Flynn initially failed to tell the government ethics office and the White House about recent speaking fees he received from three Russia-connected firms, a new financial disclosure document shows.

In an initial filing submitted in February, just days before he left the Trump administration, Flynn did not provide an itemized list of the companies that paid him to speak — including RT, the Kremlin-backed television network that U.S. intelligence services have described as a propaganda outlet. But in the amended disclosure, dated Friday, Flynn names RT and at least two other Russia-linked firms as sources of income in a section for nongovernment earnings that exceed $5,000 in a year.

The White House on Friday released both the initial and the amended filing as part of a batch of financial disclosures from key administration staff.

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The retired Army lieutenant general was paid by an air freight company associated with the Russia-based Volga-Dnepr Group and a subsidiary of the Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab, according to the amended disclosure.

Related: Vast Wealth Held By Trump’s Top Aides, Documents Show

NBC News and other outlets, citing documents released by Democrats on the House Oversight committee, have previously reported that RT paid Flynn more than $45,000, plus perks, to speak at its tenth anniversary gala in December 2015. Flynn was famously seated at the same table as Russian President Vladimir Putin at that event.

Flynn's attorney, Robert Kelner, told NBC News on Saturday that the first filing submitted to the Government Office of Ethics and the White House, dated Feb. 11, was a draft that would typically be followed by a back-and-forth with federal officials. But that process came to an abrupt end when Flynn, on Feb. 13, lost his job.

Kelner also noted to NBC News that the initial filing included the speaking fees bundled together as income from Leading Authorities LLC, a speakers bureau — rather than a breakdown of specific companies.

The documents released last month by House Democrats include a paycheck from Leading Authorities to Flynn for $33,750, which was his fee for the RT speech after the speakers bureau deducted its 25 percent commission. RT also covered $386 for the cost of visas.

The documents also appear to show that Volga-Dnepr Airlines and Kaspersky Government Security Solutions Inc., each paid Flynn $11,250 after commission.

In a 2016 interview with Yahoo News' correspondent Michael Isikoff, Flynn said he attended the RT gala in order to tell Russia to convince Iran to end what he called involvement in proxy wars in the Middle East. Asked about the speaking fee, Flynn said: "I didn't take any money from Russia, if that's what you're asking me." He said he was paid by his speakers' bureau.

The new financial disclosure also shows Flynn was compensated by political groups, government contractors, technology firms and the FBI, which paid him a $5,000 consultancy fee.

Flynn, who left the Trump administration after misleading the White House about his contacts with the Russian ambassador, made headlines earlier this week after asking congressional investigators for immunity in exchange for cooperating with inquiries into links between Trump's presidential campaign and Moscow.

He was director of the Defense Intelligence Agency during the Obama administration from 2012 to 2014, before being pushed out and retiring from the Army with the rank of lieutenant general.

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