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Mueller looking into hedge-fund manager close to Kushner: report

Mueller looking into hedge-fund manager close to Kushner: report
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Richard Gerson, a New York-based hedge-fund manager and close friend of senior White House aide Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerTrump alumni launch America First Policy Institute Fauci fatigue sets in as top doc sows doubt in vaccine effectiveness The Memo: Biden's five biggest foreign policy challenges MORE, is being scrutinized by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump MORE over his closeness to several meetings between foreign officials and Trump associates, according to an NBC News report.

Gerson has drawn the eye of Mueller investigators due to his proximity to two meetings that top members of the Trump campaign had with United Arab Emirates (UAE) officials including Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, according to the report.

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Gerson was reportedly in Seychelles in January 2017, the same time that Trump adviser and brother to Education Secretary Betsy DeVosBetsy DeVosHeadhunters having hard time finding jobs for former Trump officials: report Education Department moves to reverse Trump-era rules on campus sexual misconduct Watchdog says DeVos made nine figures in outside income during Trump years MORE, Erik Prince, was in the country to secretly meet with al-Nahyan and other UAE officials.

During that time, Gerson communicated with George Nader, the businessman who had set up Prince's meeting, as well as with al-Nahyan himself, according to NBC sources.

Gerson had also met with Nader weeks earlier when Trump officials met with Nader and al-Nahyan at the New York Four Seasons hotel, where Kushner himself was also in attendance.

A spokesperson for Gerson told NBC that Gerson knew nothing about the Seychelles meeting between Prince and al-Nahyan despite communicating with the meeting's organizer, and claimed that Gerson has no relationship with Prince.

"Mr. Gerson was on vacation in the Seychelles prior to the meeting you reference. He knew nothing about the meeting, had left before the meeting was reported to have taken place, and has never met or communicated with Erik Prince," the spokesperson told NBC.

The spokesman added that Gerson attended The Four Seasons meeting alongside former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who invited Gerson to discuss Israeli-Palestinian relations with the officials.

"Mr. Gerson attended the meeting in New York along with Mr. Blair to discuss this issue," the spokesman said.

Mueller is looking into whether the Seychelles meeting between Prince and UAE officials served to set up a back channel between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to news reports.

So far, the special counsel's investigation has spawned a number of charges, though none of them are yet related to Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty last year to lying to FBI investigators, while former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortThere was Trump-Russia collusion — and Trump pardoned the colluder Treasury: Manafort associate passed 'sensitive' campaign data to Russian intelligence Hunter Biden blasts Trump in new book: 'A vile man with a vile mission' MORE is battling charges of tax fraud and money laundering over his lobbying work for pro-Russian political groups in Ukraine.