Flynn abduction plot claims ‘outrageous’
WASHINGTON The lawyer for former United States national security adviser Michael Flynn has labelled as ‘‘outrageous’’ and ‘‘false’’ media reports suggesting his client may have been involved in an alleged plan to kidnap a Muslim cleric and deliver him to Turkey in exchange for millions of dollars.
The rare statement from lawyer Robert Kelner came after The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller was investigating an alleged proposal under which Flynn and his son would have received up to US$15 million for seizing Fethullah Gulen from his US home and delivering him to the Turkish government. The newspaper cited people familiar with the investigation.
US TV network NBC also reported yesterday that Mueller’s team was investigating whether Flynn met with senior Turkish officials in the weeks before US President Donald Trump’s January 2017 inauguration to discuss a possible quid pro quo, in which Flynn would be paid to do the bidding of Turkey’s government while in office. NBC cited multiple people familiar with the probe.
‘‘Out of respect for the process of the various investigations regarding the 2016 campaign, we have intentionally avoided responding to every rumour or allegation raised in the media,’’ Kelner said. ‘‘But today’s news cycle has brought allegations about General Flynn, ranging from kidnapping to bribery, that are so outrageous and prejudicial that we are making an exception to our usual rule: they are false.’’
The Journal reported that the alleged plan involving Flynn and the Turkish officials emerged during Mueller’s wider investigation of possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and any collusion by the Trump campaign.
Flynn was fired by Trump after just 24 days in the job, for misleading Vice-President Mike Pence about the extent of his conversations with then-Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak last year.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan accuses Gulen of instigating a failed coup in July 2016, and wants him extradited to Turkey to face trial. Gulen has denied any role in the coup.
Flynn is a central figure in Mueller’s investigation because of conversations he had with Kislyak and because he waited until March to retroactively register with the US Justice Depart- REUTERS ment as a foreign agent, for work he did for a Turkish businessman.
A spokesman for Mueller’s team declined to comment.
The Journal reported that FBI agents had asked at least four people about a December meeting in New York where Flynn and Turkish government representatives discussed removing Gulen, citing people with knowledge of the FBI’s inquiries. Reuters
Former United States national security adviser Michael Flynn was allegedly involved in a plan to kidnap an exiled Turkish Muslim cleric and deliver him to Turkey in exchange for millions of dollars.
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