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Former Head of FBI’s New York Counterintelligence Division Pleads Guilty to Aiding Russian Oligarch: Latest Updates


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The former head of the FBI’s New York City counterintelligence division pleads guilty to aiding a sanctioned Russian oligarch

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Charlie McGonigal, the former head of the FBI’s New York City counterintelligence division, pleaded guilty on Tuesday for his involvement in aiding a sanctioned Russian oligarch.

McGonigal’s Admission of Guilt

During the court hearing in New York City, McGonigal, who is 55 years old, expressed “deep remorse” for his actions in 2021, where he assisted billionaire industrialist Oleg Deripaska.

Assisting Deripaska

McGonigal admitted to accepting over $17,000 from Deripaska to gather damaging information about a rival Russian oligarch. Notably, Deripaska has been under US sanctions since 2018 due to his connection with the Russian occupation of Crimea.

Further Involvement

Assistant US Attorney Rebecca Dale revealed that McGonigal was also involved in trying to help Deripaska evade the sanctions. He was in discussions with co-conspirators to receive fees ranging from $650,000 to $3 million for uncovering electronic files that revealed hidden assets worth $500 million in order to compete with other oligarchs in business.

Legal Consequences

McGonigal pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to launder money and violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. If convicted, he could face up to five years in prison. The sentencing date is set for December 14.

Additional Charges

Besides the charges in New York, McGonigal is also facing separate charges in federal court in Washington, D.C. He is accused of concealing at least $225,000 in cash obtained from a former Albanian intelligence official during his time at the FBI.

McGonigal’s FBI Role

Prior to his guilty plea, McGonigal served as a special agent in charge of the FBI’s counterintelligence division in New York from 2016 to 2018. During his tenure, he oversaw investigations of Russian oligarchs, including Deripaska.

Confirmation of Sanctions

A US District Court for the District of Columbia later confirmed the sanctions against Deripaska, as evidence suggested that he acted as an agent of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

McGonigal’s Statement

McGonigal choked up while describing his crime and expressed remorse for the impact it had on his loved ones. He stated that his actions were not intended to harm the United States, the FBI, or his family and friends.

Department of Justice’s Determination

Matthew J., a representative of the Department of Justice, emphasized the commitment to dismantle the illegal networks used by Russian oligarchs to evade sanctions and laws.

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