Ex FBI Official Sentenced To Prison For Helping Russian Oligarch

(DailyVantage.com) – A 22-year-old veteran of the FBI was sentenced to 50 months in prison for illegally providing information to a Russian oligarch.

Charles McGonigal, who served as the agency’s head of counterintelligence for its office in New York, pleaded guilty to charges of money laundering and conspiracy to violate US sanctions. He was charged after authorities discovered that he had provided assistance to wealthy Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska, who reportedly also has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Deripaska reportedly approached McGonigal, asking if the FBI could find any incriminating information on a rival oligarch. Despite it being illegal, McGonigal agreed to perform the task for Deripaska. McGonigal’s lawyer attempted to defend his client’s actions, saying that the great “risk and reward” entailed by the Russian businessman’s offer tempted McGonigal to make a bad decision.

Prior to receiving his sentence, McGonigal addressed the court, telling presiding judge Jennifer Rearden that he felt a “deep sense of remorse” over his actions. He added that he suffers from “mental, emotional, and physical pain,” especially given his knowledge as a former FBI special agent, and that he felt ashamed about bringing embarrassment to the FBI, an institution he “loves and respects.”

The judge’s sentence of 50 months in prison is just 10 months shy of the 60-month (or five-year) statutory maximum sentence for McGonigal’s crime. Prosecutors had argued that McGonigal deserved to be given the maximum penalty as his actions posed a great risk to the U.S.’s national security. On top of that, according to prosecutor Hagan Scotten, McGonigal betrayed his country for no other reason than money.

“Poverty did not motivate this crime, your honor. Greed did,” Scotten said.

McGonigal is also set to be sentenced by a Washington, D.C., court in February next year over a separate but similar case. He pleaded guilty to concealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in payouts from a former Albanian intelligence officer.

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