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Former FBI Official Pleads Guilty In Russian Oligarch Sanctions Case

  A former top   FBI   official who was involved in Russia-focused investigations pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate U.S.   sanctions  ...

 A former top FBI official who was involved in Russia-focused investigations pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions on a wealthy Russian oligarch.

Charles McGonigal, a 55-year-old retired special agent who led the New York FBI Counterintelligence Division, entered a guilty plea in New York on Tuesday for one count of conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and to commit money laundering. He had previously pleaded not guilty in the case.

During his court appearance, McGonigal told the judge he was “deeply remorseful” for his behavior and took “full responsibility” for his decisions, according to media reports. He also insisted that his actions “never intended to hurt the United States, the FBI and my family and friends.”

The charge relates to McGonigal agreeing in 2021 to provide services to Oleg Deripaska, a sanctioned Russian oligarch whom he investigated as a member of the bureau, by doing research on a rival Russian oligarch in exchange for secret payments, according to the Department of Justice.

“After his tenure as a high-level FBI official who supervised and participated in investigations of Russian oligarchs, Charles McGonigal has now admitted that he agreed to evade U.S. sanctions by providing services to one of those oligarchs, Oleg Deripaska,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams. “This Office will continue to hold to account those who violate U.S. sanctions for their own financial benefit.”

In 2018, the Treasury Department unveiled sanctions against Deripaska and some of the companies associated with him — along with others — in response to “malign activity” around the globe by Russia. The Department of Justice announced in September of last year the unsealing of an indictment charging Deripaska and others with violating U.S. sanctions in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

McGonigal was reportedly arrested in January at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York upon returning from a trip abroad. He initially pleaded not guilty in the New York case. McGonigal separately pleaded not guilty in Washington, D.C., where he was accused of concealing $225,000 in cash from someone who had served as an Albanian intelligence operative who became an FBI informant.

His attorney, Seth DuCharme, said in a recent status call in the D.C. matter that there was a “decent chance the case is going to be resolved” without having to go to trial, according to CNN. The report noted that the judge in that case set a hearing for September 13.


With the New York guilty plea, McGonigal faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled to take place on December 14.

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