A top aide to U.S. President Donald Trump is being investigated for allegedly discussing a deal to hand over Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen to the Turkish government in exchange for up to 15 million dollars, a report said on Friday. The special counsel investigating Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election is looking into the matter as part of its probe of Michael Flynn, Trump’s one-time national security advisor.
The FBI has asked about a December 2016 meeting between Flynn and Turkish representatives in New York at which they discussed transporting Gulen on a private jet to a Turkish prison island. Gulen, whom the Turkish government accused of orchestrating 2016’s failed coup, is a permanent resident of the U.S. and Turkey has been pushing for his extradition. Flynn was forced to step down after just weeks on the job for lying about contacts with the Russian ambassador. His previous lobbying work for Turkey came under scrutiny this year after it was revealed he had done work 2016 through his intelligence firm on behalf of a Turkish businessman that could have benefited the Turkish government. Flynn had allegedly failed to properly registering his activities with the U.S. NBC News reported on Sunday that investigators have gathered enough evidence to bring charges against Flynn and his son. The developments followed charges filed recently against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his former business associate, and the unsealing of a guilty plea by a former foreign policy adviser who had allegedly sought to establish contacts with Russians.