Michael T. Flynn failed to disclose a payment of $530,000 from the Turkish government and may face additional conspiracy and kidnapping charges for negotiating a payment of $15 million to deliver a political opponent to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to The New York Review.
Flynn’s target was Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic cleric and political foe of President Erdogan. He has lived in exile in the United States since 1999 and was granted permanent residence in 2008. Yet, the Turkish government accused him of organizing the attempted coup in July 2016, when thousands of his followers were imprisoned.
The Flynn Intel Group, a lobbying firm in Virginia, was paid $530,000 by Inovo BV, a Dutch company that serves as a front for Inovo Turkiji, whose principal, Ekim Alptekin, is closely associated with Erdogan. The Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) requires the disclosure of work for foreign governments, including details on compensation, but Flynn hid the payments until details of the contract surfaced in press reports.
The contract required Flynn conduct a smear campaign against Gulen, who referred to him as a “shady Islamic mullah residing in Pennsylvania.”
“To professionals in the intelligence community, the stamp of terror is all over Mullah Gulen’s statements...Washington is hoodwinked by this masked source of terror and instability nestled comfortably in our own backyard,” Flynn wrote in an article published in The Hill on election day, November 8, 2016. “The forces of radical Islam derive their ideology from radical clerics like Gulen, who is running a scam. We should not provide him safe haven.”
James Wollsey, former director of the CIA, attended a meeting with Flynn in September 2016 during which Flynn discussed the abduction and extradition of Gulen to Turkish authorities. Attendees of the meeting also included Berat Albayrak, Erdogan’s son-in-law, and Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
Flynn was then offered as much as $15 million to deliver Gulen at a meeting in December in New York, a meeting that’s existence was denied by the Turkish government.