Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating an alleged $15 million backroom deal between the Turkish government and former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and his son to forcibly remove Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric and rival of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, from his home in the U.S. and deliver him to Turkey.
Erdogan has long sought Gulen’s extradition for inciting a coup attempt in 2016, something Gulen has long denied.
Additionally, three people familiar with the probe said investigators are examining whether Flynn and other participants discussed a way to free a Turkish-Iranian gold trader, Reza Zarrab, who is jailed in the U.S. Zarrab is facing federal charges that he helped Iran skirt U.S. sanctions.
Mueller is specifically examining whether the deal, if successful, would have led to millions of dollars in secret payments to Flynn, according to three sources familiar with the investigation.
The meeting allegedly took place at the upscale 21 Club restaurant in New York, just blocks away from Trump Tower, where Flynn was serving on the presidential transition team. Flynn was offered upwards of $15 million, to be paid directly or indirectly, if he could complete the deal, according to two sources familiar with the meeting.