Americas

FBI says Gulen-linked school investigation ongoing

US federal authorities investigating whether Concept Schools had improper relationships with technology vendors

Mustafa Çağlayan   | 28.10.2015
FBI says Gulen-linked school investigation ongoing

New York

NEW YORK

 A white-collar crime investigation into whether a Gulen-affiliated U.S. charter school chain had improper relationships with several technology vendors is ongoing, sources said.

The investigation started last year with an FBI raid of 19 schools operated by Concept Schools, an Illinois-based company with alleged links to a network Turkey officials call the Gulenist Terror Organization – led by Turkish preacher Fetullah Gulen.

Court-ordered search warrants showed that the raids sought documents regarding the company's dealings related to a federal educational technology subsidy program called E-Rate, and the installation or upgrades of computer networks.

The $3.9 billion E-Rate program provides discounts to help schools expand their technology, telecommunications and Internet access. It requires schools to select vendors through a competitive bidding process.

Special agent Vicki Anderson at the FBI’s Cleveland office said the investigation was ongoing and that if an indictment was returned it would be announced by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Ohio. She declined further comment.

Concept Schools run 30 charter schools in seven states across the midwest, according to its website.

Court records relating to the June 2014 raids show that the FBI was looking to take all documents corresponding to 13 company employees and companies.

Among the companies listed were Advanced Solutions for Education of Schaumburg, Core Group, Signature Maker Inc. and Sundance International, whose owners were Turkish nationals who are believed to have ties to Gulen's movement.

The Pennsylvania-based preacher is accused of forming the Gulenist Terror Organization with the aim of overthrowing the government through supporters who infiltrated the judiciary, police and civil service in a bid to take control of the Turkish state.

On Oct. 19, an Istanbul court issued a fresh arrest warrant for Gulen after approving a 1,453-page long indictment that charged him with "attempting to overthrow the government of the Republic of Turkey or obstructing it from conducting its duties by force".

Gulen is also accused of "establishing and masterminding an armed terrorist organization" and "obtaining state information -- which needs to be kept secret for the security of the state and its domestic and foreign benefits -- to be used for political espionage".

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