Former FBI Counterintelligence Chief Who Investigated Trump-Russia Collusion Hoax Sentenced to Over 4 Years for Colluding with Russian Oligarchs

Photo: Yuki Iwamura/AFP via Getty Images

A former high-ranking FBI official has been sentenced to over four years in prison for colluding with Russian oligarchs.

Charles McGonigal, once the Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division in New York, faced charges for conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and committing money laundering.

McGonigal, 55, from New York City, was sentenced to 50 months in prison and ordered to pay a $40,000 fine on Thursday.

McGonigal was arrested earlier this year for conspiring with Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch sanctioned by the U.S. government.

His guilty plea in August followed a detailed investigation revealing his agreement in 2021 to provide services to Oleg Deripaska, including attempting to have him removed from the U.S. sanctions list in 2019.

“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 for the Southern District of New York in a statement.

“This office will continue to hold to account those who violate U.S. sanctions for their own financial benefit.”

“Charles McGonigal, by his own admission, betrayed his oath and actively concealed his illicit work at the bidding of a sanctioned Russian oligarch,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

“Today’s plea shows the Department of Justice’s resolve to pursue and dismantle the illegal networks that Russian oligarchs use to try to escape the reach of our sanctions and evade our laws.”

In September, McGonigal admitted that he received at least $225,000 in cash from a person with whom he also traveled internationally, during which they met with foreign citizens. This person later became an informant for the FBI in a criminal case concerning foreign political lobbying, a case over which McGonigal had supervisory authority, according to the DOJ.

On Thursday, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams highlighted the gravity of McGonigal’s betrayal, noting, “Charles McGonigal violated the trust his country placed in him by using his high-level position at the FBI to prepare for his future in business. Once he left public service, he jeopardized our national security by providing services to Oleg Deripaska, a Russian tycoon who acts as Vladimir Putin’s agent.  Today’s sentence is a reminder that anyone who violates United States sanctions — particularly those in whom this country has placed its trust — will pay a heavy penalty.”

Executive Assistant Director Larissa L. Knapp of the FBI’s National Security Branch condemned McGonigal’s conduct as a clear act of betrayal.

“Charles McGonigal’s conduct can be summed up in one word – betrayal. He betrayed everything he once swore to protect. Today’s sentencing is a message to all, no matter who they are, the FBI does not tolerate those who choose to jeopardize US National Security. Prioritizing personal gains over one’s oath to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution, will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

Read the DOJ’s press release:

In 2014, the President issued Executive Order 13660, which declared a national emergency with respect to the situation in Ukraine. To address this national emergency, the President blocked all property of individuals determined by the U.S.

Treasury to be responsible for or complicit in actions or policies that threatened the security, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine, or who materially assist, sponsor, or provide support to individuals or entities engaging in such activities. Executive Order 13660 and regulations issued pursuant to it prohibit providing or receiving any funds, goods, or services by, to, from, or for the benefit of any person designated by the U.S. Treasury.

On April 6, 2018, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Oleg Deripaska as a Specially Designated National in connection with its finding that the actions of the Government of the Russian Federation with respect to Ukraine constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to U.S. national security and foreign policy.

According to the U.S. Treasury, Deripaska was sanctioned for having acted or purported to act on behalf of, directly or indirectly, a senior official of the Government of the Russian Federation and for operating in the energy sector of the Russian Federation economy. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia affirmed the sanctions against Deripaska. It found, among other things, that OFAC’s determination that Deripaska acted as an agent of Russian President Vladimir Putin was supported by the evidence.

As an FBI official, McGonigal helped investigate Deripaska and other Russian oligarchs. As a SAC, he supervised investigations into sanctions violations. Yet at the same time, he began building a relationship with an agent of Deripaska, in the hopes of doing business with Deripaska after he retired from the FBI.

In 2021, McGonigal conspired to provide services to Deripaska, in violation of U.S. sanctions imposed on Deripaska in 2018. Specifically, following his negotiations with Deripaska’s agent, McGonigal agreed to and did investigate a rival Russian oligarch in return for concealed payments from Deripaska.

While negotiating and performing services for Deripaska, McGonigal and the agent attempted to conceal Deripaska’s involvement by, among other means, not directly naming Deripaska in electronic communications, using shell companies as counterparties in the contract that outlined the services to be performed, using a forged signature on that contract, and using the same shell companies to send and receive payment from Deripaska.

McGonigal hoped to do millions of dollars in business with Deripaska, but FBI agents from the same division McGonigal used to lead foiled his scheme after only a few months of operation.

McGonigal’s case has gained notoriety not only for his recent criminal activities but also for his earlier role in the FBI.

He was a key figure in initiating the investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller into the now-debunked collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election.

This investigation, which sought to uncover alleged coordinated efforts to ‘influence the election’ and which eventually did not find any evidence to establish that collusion took place, became one of the most outrageous investigations of a sitting president in US history.

When serving as the chief of the cybercrimes section at the FBI’s Washington, DC headquarters, McGonigal was one of the first officials to receive intelligence regarding claims that George Papadopoulos, a former campaign adviser for President Trump, had alleged that the Russians had compromising information on Hillary Clinton.

“Ex-FBI Counterintelligence Chief, and Peter Strzok’s boss, Charles McGonigal, who was in charge of my “case” during the Russia investigation scam, was just sentenced to 4+ years for colluding with Russian oligarchs. Fined $40,000, his actions mark a startling breach of U.S. sanctions and trust. You cannot make this up,” George Papadopoulos wrote on X.

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Jim Hᴏft is the founder and editor of The Gateway Pundit, one of the top conservative news outlets in America. Jim was awarded the Reed Irvine Accuracy in Media Award in 2013 and is the proud recipient of the Breitbart Award for Excellence in Online Journalism from the Americans for Prosperity Foundation in May 2016.

You can email Jim Hᴏft here, and read more of Jim Hᴏft's articles here.

 

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