Home News NYC Mayor Adams’ aide Rana Abbasova, who’s cooperating with feds, flew to...

NYC Mayor Adams’ aide Rana Abbasova, who’s cooperating with feds, flew to Turkey for free, record show

Rana Abbasova, the aide to Mayor Adams whose home was raided as part of a federal probe into his campaign’s ties to Turkey, flew to the Middle Eastern country for free in connection with her official government duties, official records show.

Her October 2022 trip involved traveling to Istanbul with Adams’ then-chief of staff Frank Carone and the city’s International Affairs Commissioner Ed Mermelstein to attend a conference hosted by GYODER, a Turkish real estate trade group.

Abbasova, who’s now cooperating with federal investigators, was serving as the administration’s international affairs “protocol director” at the time. Her travel to Turkey with Carone and Mermelstein has not been previously reported.

The investigation into the Adams’ campaign’s ties to Turkey exploded into public view last November when the FBI raided the homes of Abbasova, Brianna Suggs, one of Adams’ top campaign fundraisers, and Cenk Öcal, a former Turkish Airlines executive.

FBI agents raid the Brooklyn home of Mayor Adams' campaign consultant, Brianna Suggs, according to a source and published reports. Suggs raised money for Adams during his 2021 campaign. (Obtained by Daily News)

Obtained by Daily News

FBI agents raid the Brooklyn home of Mayor Adams’ campaign consultant Brianna Suggs, who raised money for Adams during his 2021 campaign. (Obtained by Daily News)

Since those raids, the feds have seized Adams’ electronic devices, and investigators have honed in on free upgrades the mayor received from Turkish Airlines, a story first reported by the New York Times. Adams has not been accused of any wrongdoing as part of the probe.

According to a 2022 financial disclosure form Abbasova filed with the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board, GYODER “paid my travel and accommodation” on the October 2022 trip.

“As always, she did a great job managing the logistics,” Carone said Thursday, noting that Abbasova speaks Turkish.

The mayor did not travel with her, Carone or Mermelstein to Istanbul, but he did appear virtually and, as reported by Politico, extolled the upsides of investing in the Big Apple.

Carone spoke at the conference in person.

“The mayor has a great love of the country of Turkey, the Turkish people,” he said at the time. “In fact, he’s been here seven times and he has a deep connection to the culture, to the people, and he says it all the time.”

Like Abbasova, Mermelstein reported travel expenses valued between $1,000 and $4,999 for the trip. Carone didn’t report any travel expenses associated with the trip on COIB forms and told Politico that generally he pays his own way for foreign trips.

Rachel Maimin, Abbasova’s attorney, declined to comment.

Immediately after the raid of her New Jersey home, Abbasova allegedly told her colleagues to “delete” their text exchanges, according to a source close to the investigation who spoke to the Daily News at the time.

After learning of that, Adams’ personal attorney Boyd Johnson said an unspecified individual had “acted improperly” and that the “behavior was immediately and proactively reported to investigators.” The source who spoke to The News confirmed that Johnson was referring to Abbasova in those remarks.

Abbasova remains on unpaid leave from her city job.

Which airlines she, Mermelstein and Carone used to travel to Turkey remains a mystery.

Carone said on Thursday that while he primarily uses Delta Airlines, he didn’t recall if he did on the GYODER trip. He noted that he flew to Turkey by himself and said he was checking his records to determine which airline he took there.

Kayla Mamelak, a spokeswoman from the mayor’s office, refused to answer direct questions inquiring about which airline Mermelstein and Abbasova used or whether the two traveled together.

“This trip to an international conference was approved in accordance with the conflicts of interest law and it was properly reported on public documents,” she said. “The trip gave our team the opportunity to discuss affordable housing work, develop diplomatic relations, and improve the city’s global standing.”


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