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Former FBI Counterintelligence Chief Gets Over Four Years in Prison for Illicit Ties with Russian Oligarch

Former FBI Counterintelligence Chief Gets Over Four Years in Prison for Illicit Ties with Russian Oligarch
Former FBI Counterintelligence Chief Gets Over Four Years in Prison for Illicit Ties with Russian Oligarch

Charles McGonigal Sentenced for Conspiracy, Money Laundering Involving Wealthy Russian Linked to Putin

In a significant development, Charles McGonigal, the ex-head of counterintelligence for the FBI’s New York field office, has been sentenced to just over four years in prison for his involvement with a sanctioned Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, following his departure from government service.

Former FBI Counterintelligence Chief Gets Over Four Years in Prison for Illicit Ties with Russian Oligarch

Former FBI Counterintelligence Chief Gets Over Four Years in Prison for Illicit Ties with Russian Oligarch

McGonigal, a seasoned 22-year FBI veteran, pleaded guilty in August to one count of conspiracy to violate US sanctions and money laundering related to his work for Deripaska, known for his close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The sentencing, delivered by Judge Jennifer Rearden, came just below the statutory maximum of five years, with McGonigal ordered to surrender to prison on February 26.

The judge emphasized that McGonigal had “repeatedly flouted and manipulated the sanctions regimes vital” to US national security interests. Despite acknowledging his distinguished career, Judge Rearden underscored the “undeniable seriousness” of McGonigal’s actions, necessitating a “meaningful custodial sentence.”

Before sentencing, McGonigal expressed deep remorse, stating, “I, more than anyone, know that I have committed a felony,” acknowledging the impact on his mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Tearfully, he appealed for a second chance.

Prosecutors argued for a five-year prison term, asserting that McGonigal’s actions jeopardized national security. They emphasized the potential risk posed if a foreign government had the former FBI counterintelligence chief “on their payroll.”

Defense attorney Seth DuCharme, advocating for leniency, requested a no-prison sentence, citing McGonigal’s lengthy public service. DuCharme acknowledged that McGonigal had been asked by Deripaska to gather information on a rival oligarch, characterizing it as a “terrible decision” motivated by risk and reward.

DuCharme pointed to McGonigal’s willingness to cooperate, citing a seven-hour meeting with seven government agencies, undisclosed in detail but known to the judge under seal.

In a separate case in Washington, DC, McGonigal had previously pleaded guilty in September to concealing funds received from a former Albanian intelligence employee. He is scheduled for sentencing in that case in February.

The judge was urged to recommend that McGonigal serve his sentence in the New York area.

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