Disgraced former top FBI official to plead guilty to working for Russian oligarch

 August 9, 2023

Charles McGonigal, the former head of counterintelligence for the FBI’s New York field office during the probe into former President Donald Trump and Russian collusion, is expected to plead guilty on August 15 to charges that he illegally worked for a sanctioned Russian oligarch in 2019.

McGonigal is one of the highest-ranking FBI agent to be criminally charged by the DOJ. He retired from the FBI in 2018 before the alleged wrongdoing took place.

He's facing charges of evading U.S. sanctions and money laundering for his work for Oleg Deripaska.

Deripaska was the founder of Russian aluminum company Rusal and once Russia’s richest man, but was blacklisted along with two dozen other Russian oligarchs in 2018.

The allegations

McGonigal pushed in 2019 for him to be taken of the list of sanctioned oligarchs, but he was unsuccessful.

The U.S. Treasury Department had been investigating Deripaska at the time for money laundering, extortion, and racketeering, alongside alleged ties to Russian organized crime and murder.

McGonigal was obligated to disclose his communication with Deripaska after finding out he would be sanctioned as an oligarch with close ties to the Kremlin. However, he did not do so.

In a separate case, McGonigal is charged with concealing $225,000 he allegedly received from a former Albanian intelligence employee.

Pleading guilty

McGonigal's lawyers have signaled they believe both cases will be resolved without going to trial after signaling that he may want to change his plea from not guilty to guilty.

He has been free on a $500,000 bond since being indicted in January.

McGonigal helped to initiate and spearhead the Trump-Russia collusion investigation, which led to the Robert Mueller investigation but ultimately failed to yield evidence that Trump had any ties to Russia because it was based on false information provided by the Hillary Clinton campaign.

The New York Post reported that Deripaska may have been a client of Paul Manafort, who was at one time an advisor to Trump and whom Trump pardoned in December 2020 just before leaving office.

"Rot in hell"

The case is yet another instance of the pot calling the kettle black. The deep state couldn't prove that Trump colluded with Russia, but now it looks like at least one of its members was doing what he accused Trump of doing.

Trump is, of course, gleeful about the downfall of the man who tried to take him down falsely, and posted in February after news of McGonigal's arrest broke that he hoped he would "rot in hell."

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