Charles McGonigal, the former head of counterintelligence at the FBI’s New York office, admitted guilt on Friday for concealing payments from Eastern European businessmen, some linked to officials in Albania and Bosnia.
Charles McGonigal also faced separate charges in Manhattan relating to his involvement in assisting a Russian oligarch with ties to President Vladimir Putin in evading U.S. sanctions
Federal prosecutors in Washington brought nine charges against Charles McGonigal, including concealing material facts and falsifying records regarding his foreign dealings. Guidelines mandate agents to report assets over $1,000 and liabilities exceeding $10,000.
Charles McGonigal pleaded guilty to one count of concealing material facts, aiming to avoid the remaining charges. He could face up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000. U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly scheduled his sentencing for February 16.
In a brief statement, Charles McGonigal expressed remorse to the FBI and his family, stating he intended to establish a consulting business post-retirement in 2018 and was safeguarding future business prospects. His indictment marked a significant event within the intelligence community, with Charles McGonigal being one of the highest-ranking FBI officials to face charges.
The case prompted the FBI, led by Director Christopher Wray, to assess potential compromises to law enforcement and counterintelligence operations due to Charles McGonigal’s contacts
According to the Washington indictment, Charles McGonigal nurtured business relationships with Agron Neza, a New Jersey businessman tied to Albania. These efforts included meetings with Albanian officials and a warning to Prime Minister Edi Rama regarding oil field licenses.
Charles McGonigal’s dealings extended to Bosnia and Herzegovina, involving efforts to arrange a meeting with then-U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley. In exchange, he was promised $500,000 through Neza’s company. Additionally, after retiring in 2018, Charles McGonigal collaborated with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, receiving substantial payments for his assistance in lifting U.S. sanctions and organizing a special NYPD tour.