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FBI investigating upgrades NYC mayor received on flights to Turkey in probe of illegal donations

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The FBI is investigating potential wrongdoing in the 2020 campaign of New York City Mayor Eric Adams, examining the pricey upgrades that Adams received on flights to Turkey, CBS News reported on Saturday.

Agents sought records in an investigation into whether the Turkish government cooperated with Adams’ campaign to utilize straw contributors to support his 2021 mayoral race with foreign money when they raided the Brooklyn home of Adams’ senior fundraiser, Briana Suggs, in November.

Another question was whether Adams pressured the fire department to overlook safety concerns at the new consulate Turkey built in Manhattan.

The FBI and federal prosecutors are reportedly looking into the mayor’s use of Turkish Airlines’ first-class upgrades on multiple occasions when he visited the county.

Cenk Öcal, a former CEO of Turkish Airlines, and Rana Abbasova, the mayor’s liaison to the Turkish community, reportedly orchestrated the upgrades.

The upgrades could be valuable. In 2023 round-trip business class tickets on Turkish Airlines could cost $3,400, four times the cost of flying coach.

The flights in question were taken by Adams while he was the borough president of Brooklyn, CBS cited officials from City Hall as saying.

Brendan McGuire, the mayor’s attorney, maintained that Adams was innocent.

“As Borough President, the Mayor consistently disclosed his official travel to Turkey, did not receive any improper upgrades and did nothing inappropriate in exchange for an upgrade. Speculation is not evidence. We look forward to a just and timely conclusion to this investigation,” McGuire said in a statement.

As part of the investigation the FBI seized the mayor’s two iPhones and an iPad. Neither the FBI nor the Manhattan US Attorney’s Office would comment on the probe.

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