Former top FBI agent sentenced to 50 months for aiding Russian oligarch

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A former top FBI agent has been sentenced to more than four years in prison Thursday for violating sanctions on Russia and working for a Russian oligarch.

In Manhattan federal court, Judge Jennifer H. Rearden sentenced Charles McGonigal to 50 months in prison and fined him $40,000, The Associated Press reported.

McGonigal’s sentence is four years and two months, less than a year short of the possible maximum for the charges against him, which was five years in prison.

Rearden said McGonigal harmed national security by disregarding sanctions meant to put economic pressure on Russia.

A prosecutor in the case alleged McGonigal’s action was a money grab, leveraging the knowledge he gained in his FBI career to befriend Oleg Deripaska, a billionaire and Russian oligarch.

McGonigal said during his Thursday sentencing he had a “deep sense of remorse” and was sorry for his actions, the AP reported.

McGonigal, who was tasked with leading investigations into Russian oligarchs, pled guilty in August. He was in charge of the New York FBI Counterintelligence Division and led investigations into whether Russian oligarchs could be subject to U.S. sanctions, The Hill previously reported.

He was also trying to help Deripaska get off the sanctions list, according to the AP.

McGonigal accepted $17,500 from Deripaska, who has been sanctioned by the U.S. since 2018 and is considered a close confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to prosecutors.

He investigated Deripaska’s rival oligarch in return for the money, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said. The funds were laundered through shell corporations using false documents. He previously agreed to return the $17,500 to the government.

In September, McGonigal pleaded guilty to separate charges in Washington, D.C., that he concealed foreign payments of over $225,000 from an Albanian official when he was leading the FBI’s operations in Europe.

He accepted funds from a former Albanian intelligence official and businessman from late 2017 until his retirement in 2018, the DOJ said.

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