February 26, 2024

As F.B.I. agents searched the home of Mayor Eric Adams’s chief fund-raiser earlier this month for evidence his campaign conspired with Turkey, separate teams executed warrants at the residences of two others with ties to the mayor and that country, several people with knowledge of the matter said.

In addition to the home of the fund-raiser, Brianna Suggs, investigators also searched the New Jersey houses of Rana Abbasova, an aide in Mr. Adams’s international affairs office, four of the people said, and Cenk Öcal, a former Turkish Airlines executive who served on his transition team, two people said.

The coordinated raids were the first public sign of a broad corruption investigation into the mayor’s 2021 campaign. As part of the inquiry, the F.B.I. and federal prosecutors in Manhattan are examining whether the Turkish government conspired with Mr. Adams’s campaign to funnel foreign donations into campaign coffers and whether Mr. Adams pressured Fire Department officials to sign off on a new high-rise Turkish consulate despite safety concerns.

Both Ms. Abbasova and Mr. Öcal have ties to Turkey. She was Mr. Adams’s longtime liaison to the Turkish community when he served as Brooklyn borough president; he was the general manager of the New York office of Turkish Airlines until early last year. Ms. Abbasova, Mr. Öcal, Ms. Suggs and Mr. Adams have not been accused of wrongdoing.

The searches began early on the morning of Nov. 2, when a team of F.B.I. agents descended on the brick Fort Lee, N.J., townhouse of Ms. Abbasova, 41, who serves as the director of protocol in the Mayor’s Office for International Affairs. It was not clear what, if anything, they took from the home.

A separate team of agents visited the New Jersey home of Mr. Öcal, a former flight attendant who, according to his LinkedIn page, rose to become a Turkish Airlines general manager, first in Sofia, Bulgaria, and then in New York. Mr. Öcal, according to a Turkish news report, was fired from the airline in early 2022 during a shake-up at the company.

Ms. Abbasova and Mr. Öcal did not respond to messages seeking comment, and it could not immediately be determined whether they had hired lawyers.

Evan Thies, a spokesman for Mr. Adams’s campaign, said, “Ms. Abbasova was not employed by or paid by the campaign.”

Fabien Levy, a spokesman for City Hall, said in a statement that the mayor was cooperating with investigators. Mr. Adams has denied any wrongdoing and, through his attorney Boyd Johnson, noted that the campaign had proactively reported an unidentified individual to federal investigators for recently acting “improperly.”

On Thursday, two people briefed on the matter confirmed earlier reporting in The New York Post that the individual was Ms. Abbasova. Mr. Thies declined to elaborate on the conduct in question.

Representatives for the F.B.I. and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York declined to comment.

The raids occurred on the same morning that agents searched Ms. Suggs’s Brooklyn home and left with three iPhones, two laptop computers and other evidence, records show.

The searches came as federal officials were examining potential malfeasance in Mr. Adams’s 2021 campaign, an inquiry so far-reaching that, last Monday, agents approached Mr. Adams on the street outside of an event in Manhattan, asked his security detail to step aside, and climbed into his car alongside him. Pursuant to a court-authorized warrant, they seized his electronic devices.

Less than three weeks ago, Ms. Abbasova, who earns $81,000 in her current post, stood just behind Mr. Adams’s right shoulder during a flag-raising ceremony at Bowling Green to mark the 100th anniversary of the Turkish republic. The Turkish consul general and U.S. ambassador were in attendance as Mr. Adams spoke of his affection for the country.

“I‘m probably the only mayor in the history of this city that has not only visited Turkey — Türkiye — once, but I think I’m on my sixth or seventh visit to Türkiye,” Mr. Adams said.

In a 2017 interview with a pro-government Turkish news outlet, Mr. Adams said he preferred to fly Turkish Airlines on international trips, in part because the airline accommodated his dietary needs as a vegan. “Turkish Airlines is my way of flying,” he told the newspaper.

At the flag raising, Ms. Abbasova handed a folder containing an honorary citation to the mayor, who awarded it to a local Turkish community member. Then she distributed small red Turkish flags to some children.

She began working for Mr. Adams as a volunteer in his first term as borough president, as he tried to make inroads to the Turkish and Azerbaijani communities in Brooklyn. She was given an office to use at Borough Hall, a former aide said.

She has been on his government staff since at least 2018, when city records indicate she joined the borough president’s office as a “community coordinator,” earning $50,000 a year. Her title in 2021 was “assistant to the compliance unit,” according to a list provided to Mr. Adams’s successor as borough president, Antonio Reynoso, Kristina Naplatarski, a spokeswoman for Mr. Reynoso, said.

While there, Ms. Abbasova managed relationships between Mr. Adams and “stakeholders” from the Middle East and Central Asia, “organized Turkic heritage events,” “assisted with sister cities agreements,” and “worked with embassies and consulates to build relationships,” according to her profile on the website of the Mayor’s Office for International Affairs.

In 2015, several years before she officially joined his staff, Ms. Abbasova traveled to Turkey with Mr. Adams on a trip sponsored by the Turkish consulate and the World Tourism Forum Institute, an organization whose mission is to boost global tourism.

The current borough president’s office does not have a position like the one held by Ms. Abbasova, according to Ms. Naplatarski.

“We do not,” she said, “nor have we ever under this administration.”

Susan Beachy contributed research.

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