Ex-campaign worker for Michigan AG at center of extortion investigation of car rental company

A former employee for Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is at the center of a lawsuit alleging he extorted a rental-car company for money.

Dimitriy Movsesyan, who worked for Nessel's campaign as an IT consultant is accused of demanding $9,500 from Executive Car Rental and Maher Waad, the company's founder. In return for the cash, he said he would have influence over an Attorney General probe looking into the company.

At the center of the investigation, which was filed in federal court on Wednesday are text messages sent from Movsesyan saying he could "help" the company's founder, with a photo of the consultant with Nessel in a car. 

The texts were sent in February, following announcements by Nessel to look into ECR over complaints regarding un-refunded deposits.

In response to the connection, the AG's office attempted to distance itself from the ex-worker.

"We are deeply concerned that Movsesyan apparently tried to use his brief encounters with AG Nessel to persuade Executive Car Rental (ECR) that he could have any impact on the Department's investigation of the company," said Nessel spokeswoman Kelli Rossman-McKinney. 

The Attorney General's office said Movsesyan only worked with Nessel for "four or five months" and the photo was taken in 2017. 

"The aim of the lawsuit is not to disparage the Attorney General's office or to say that Dana Nessel is complicit in the extortion conspiracy. I don't know if she is or not," said Attorney Steve Haney.

Later in July, Movsesyan sent an email to an assistant attorney general overseeing the investigation into ECR that he was their chief marketing officer and was hoping to resolve outstanding complaints, according to the suit.

However, Movsesyan was never employed at ECR.

"In fact, Movsesyan sent an email to the lead assistant attorney general handling the matter in which he portrayed himself as the chief marketing officer for ECR, which ECR has indicated was untrue," said Nessel's spokeswoman.

Movsesyan told the Associated Press on Friday "The entire thing is a fabrication" and would respond further on Monday.

Executive Car Rental operates out of Michigan and Florida and the Nessel's investigation is actively ongoing.

"The investigation - we're working through issues obviously the company has a high volume," Haney said. "The company is based not just in Michigan but also in Florida and operates out of international airports so you're talking 100,000 cars that are being rented annually to consumers, and you are going to have complaints."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.