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Fmr. FBI official involved in ‘Russiagate’ pleads guilty to conspiracy with Russian oligarch

FBI agents. (Melanie Rodgers Cox/US Air Force)
August 15, 2023

A former FBI official who played a key role in the “Russiagate” investigation of former President Donald Trump has pled guilty to conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and to commit money laundering as part of an agreement to provide services to a sanctioned Russian oligarch, the Justice Department announced on Tuesday.

Charles McGonigal, a former Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division in New York, faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison for conspiring to assist Oleg Deripaska, a sanctioned Russian oligarch.

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

During his years at the FBI, McGonigal helped investigate Deripaska and other Russian oligarchs, the Justice Department said. However, in 2021, McGonigal “conspired to provide services to Deripaska, in violation of U.S. sanctions imposed on Deripaska in 2018.”

McGonigal agreed to help Deripaska by investigating a “rival Russian oligarch” in exchange for payments.

“Russiagate” was the coordinated and years-long spying operation against then-presidential candidate and ultimately President Donald Trump and his administration.

“Economic sanctions are a critical component of our national security policy.  They must be fully and fairly applied to effectively limit the resources of those who threaten to harm the United States and our global allies.  Sanctions evasion by fraudulent means is a serious criminal offense,” FBI Assistant Director in Charge James Smith said. “By entering a guilty plea today, former FBI official Charles McGonigal has accepted responsibility for his actions. The FBI is committed to rigorously investigating reported sanctions violations and relentlessly pursue anyone engaged in such activity.”

This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.