First Published: 2017-11-10

US probes secret Turkey dealings of ex-Trump aide
Former White House advisor Michael Flynn was allegedly offered secret payout of up to $15 million dollars if he could engineer deportation to Turkey of Fethullah Gulen.
Middle East Online

Flynn held meeting with senior Turkish officials weeks after Trump's election.

WASHINGTON D.C. - Investigators are probing whether former White House national security advisor Michael Flynn discussed expelling a Turkish dissident back to his country in exchange for millions of dollars, US media reported Friday.

Special prosecutor Robert Mueller is examining a meeting Flynn had with senior Turkish officials weeks after Donald Trump won the presidential race last year, NBC News and the Wall Street Journal reported.

The meeting allegedly discussed a secret payout of up to $15 million dollars if, once in office, Flynn would engineer the deportation to Turkey of Fethullah Gulen, a political rival to President Recep Erdogan, as well as help free from prison Erdogan-linked Iranian-Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab.

NBC and the Journal both cited multiple people familiar with the probe by Mueller, who is leading the investigation into whether members of Trump's campaign colluded with Russian meddling in the election.

According to the sources, Mueller recently interviewed witnesses over the December 2016 meeting between the Turkish officials and Flynn at the swanky 21 Club in New York City.

"Under the alleged proposal, Mr. Flynn and his son, Michael Flynn Jr, were to be paid as much as $15 million for delivering Fethullah Gulen to the Turkish government, according to people with knowledge of discussions Mr. Flynn had with Turkish representatives," the Journal said.

The Journal said it is not clear how far the proposal went and that there was no sign that any payments were made.

The discussions included details of how Gulen, a Muslim cleric who lives in Pennsylvania and has a large Turkish following, could be flown secretly by private jet to the isolated Turkish prison island of Imrali.

NBC reported that the Turkish officials also wanted Flynn to engineer the release of Zarrab, who was arrested in Miami in March 2016 on charges of helping Iran skirt US sanctions.

Zarrab is being held without bail and faces up to 30 years in prison if found guilty of sanctions violations and money laundering charges.

While his investigation is focused on Russian meddling, Mueller has a broad mandate and has honed in on Flynn's activities as Trump's lead national security advisor.

Those include frequent contacts with Russia's then-ambassador to Washington, Sergei Kislyak, and his alleged acceptance of payments before and after the election to lobby for Turkey.

Flynn, a retired lieutenant general who previously head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, became the White House national security advisor after Trump took office on January 20, 2017.

But he was forced to resign three weeks later over his Russia contacts. Flynn has denied doing anything improper. His lawyer did not respond to requests for comment Friday.

 

Turkey, US agree to ‘work together’ in Syria

Fears of expanding Syrian war could trigger peace deal

Six suffer breathing difficulties after Turkish shelling in Afrin

Thousands protest corruption in Tel Aviv amid PM indictment call

Syrians crammed in shared flats in Afrin

Russian mercenaries - a discrete weapon in Syria

Iran protests ban on wrestler who threw bout to avoid Israel

Battle to free Mosul of IS 'intellectual terrorism'

Turkey frees Garman-Turk journalist after one year without charge

Turkey hands life sentences to 3 journalists for Gulen links

Prominent jihadist commander killed by rival Syria rebels

300 Russians killed in Syria battle last week

Tillerson, Erdogan have ‘productive, open’ talk

Iran raises rates, freezes accounts in bid to shore up rial

Kremlin says five Russians killed in US Syria strikes

Oman FM in rare visit by Arab official to Jerusalem

Senior IS leader extradited to Iraq from Turkey

Strikes hit another hospital in Syria's Idlib

Churches snub Jerusalem reception over tax dispute with Israeli authorities

Tillerson says US never gave 'heavy arms' to Kurdish YPG

Captured foreign IS suspects claim innocence

Yemeni mother awaits death penalty for spying for UAE

Fuel shortage shuts down Gaza's only power plant

Morocco arrests three suspected IS terrorists

Family of dead environmentalist in Iran threatened

Israel hands life sentence to Palestinian for triple murder

US appeals to Turkey to concentrate on fighting IS

Turkey sets up new 'observation point' in Syria's Idlib

Malaysia rejects criticism over Israeli visit

Tillerson in Ankara to ease Turkey tensions

Egypt arrests ex-presidential candidate

Tillerson: Hezbollah is part of Lebanon's 'political process'

Netanyahu says government ‘stable’ despite police recommending indictment

Corruption accusations facing Netanyahu

Syria denies ‘unacceptable’ chemical weapons use

Nations pledge nearly $25 billion toward Iraq's reconstruction

Egypt remands in custody former anti-corruption chief

Turkish PM 'hopes' German journalist is freed soon

US agrees to send $1 billion in annual aid to Jordan

Iran arrests money changers amid rial collapse

Saudi Arabia seeks to further reduce oil stockpiles

Turkey imposes curfews in Kurdish-majority province

Tillerson urges allies to focus on fighting IS

France threatens Syria strikes if chemical attacks proven

Tillerson says enduring IS defeat not yet achieved