A retired FBI official pleaded guilty Tuesday to violating U.S. sanctions by helping a Russian oligarch gain information about a competitor, Politico reports. Charles McGonigal was a top official at the FBI’s New York field office who investigated Russian oligarchs during his two-decade tenure at the FBI, He retired in 2018. The plea deal was struck with prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s office. He admitted to one count of conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and money laundering. The charges came from a 2021 scheme to evade U.S. sanctions on behalf of Oleg Deripaska, an aluminum magnate.
McGonigal agreed to probe a rival Russian oligarch, Vladimir Potanin, to try to have him sanctioned in exchange for concealed payments from Deripaska. He also tried to get Deripaska removed from the U.S. sanctions list. “After his tenure as a high-level FBI official who supervised and participated in investigations of Russian oligarchs, Charles McGonigal has now admitted that he agreed to evade U.S. sanctions by providing services to one of those oligarchs, Oleg Deripaska,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams. Sentencing is set for Dec. 14. McGonigal is concurrently facing a separate case involving his collection of $225,000 in undisclosed payments from a former Albanian intelligence officer while working for the bureau.