Ex-FBI Official Who Was Part Of Trump-Russia Probe Sentenced To Prison After Working For Sanctioned Russian Oligarch
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 09: Charles McGonigal, the former head of counterintelligence for the FBI’s New York office, leaves Manhattan Federal Court after a court appearance on February 09, 2023 in New York City. McGonigal is charged with money laundering, and conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions against Russia while secretly working with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

A former FBI counterintelligence official who played a role in the Trump-Russia collusion probe was sentenced to four years in prison on Thursday for accepting payments from a billionaire Russian oligarch who is under U.S. sanctions. 

Charles McGonigal was sentenced after pleading guilty to felonies in two different cases, one of which involved his work for Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, The Wall Street Journal reported. McGonigal, who worked on some of America’s most important national security cases over a two-decade period with the bureau, was arrested in January and charged with accepting payments from Deripaska in exchange for digging up dirt on one of the sanctioned oligarch’s Russian rivals. 

Just before he retired from the FBI, McGonigal was involved in the investigation into former President Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, allegations a special counsel report suggested were never “technically plausible.” The former FBI official played a role in the bureau’s probe of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page when in 2017, McGonigal texted a colleague, saying, “Our Team is currently talking to [Carter Page] re Russia,” The Washington Free Beacon reported

The report added that McGonigal was among the first FBI officials briefed on allegations that George Papadopoulos discussed Hillary Clinton’s emails with a foreign diplomat, a conversation that led the FBI to open its investigation of the Trump campaign. The investigation plagued the former president throughout his first term but ultimately found no evidence of collusion.

After his guilty plea in August, federal prosecutors sought a five-year sentence for the disgraced former FBI agent, arguing that he exploited his important post to develop relationships that would benefit him when he left the bureau and got into security consulting. McGonigal’s lawyers admitted that his misconduct potentially put U.S. national security at risk, but they defended him by pointing to his 22-year career in the FBI in which he “made profoundly important contributions to our government.”

From 2016 to 2018, McGonigal oversaw the FBI’s counterintelligence division in New York and supervised investigations into Russian oligarchs, which included Deripaska, according to POLITICO. The U.S. placed Deripaska under sanctions in 2018 in response to Russia’s invasion and occupation of Crimea, and during McGonigal’s trial, prosecutors said the former FBI official attempted to help Deripaska get off the U.S.-imposed sanctions list. The U.S. District Court for Washington, D.C., also found there was evidence that the Russian billionaire businessman acted as an agent of Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

A few months before McGonigal retired from the FBI he met one of Deripaska’s agents, which is when he began to develop a relationship with Deripaska even though he knew the oligarch was associated with a Russian intelligence agency, according to prosecutors, the WSJ reported. Prosecutors said that after his retirement, McGonigal met with Deripaska in London and Vienna as he began helping the oligarch seek ways to get off U.S. sanctions.


McGonigal is charged in a separate case with hiding $225,000 a former Albanian intelligence official allegedly paid him while he was still working for the FBI. McGonigal is scheduled to be sentenced in that case on February 16, just ten days before he is set to report to prison for his sentence in the Russian oligarch case. 

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