Eastern Europe monitoring team : Séverine Ly, Matisse Grenier, Claire Aréthuse, Sarah Wilpotte, Olivier Husson
21/01/2023 : Former FBI agent accused of receiving secret payments from at least one Balkan official -Olivier Husson-
Charles McGonigal, an FBI agent for 22 years until his retirement in 2018, was arrested on Jan. 21, 2023, at John F. Kennedy Airport while returning from an international trip, according to CNN.
Charles McGonigal is accused of receiving money from Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska while he was running the New York office’s counterintelligence unit and investigating Russian oligarchs, including Deripaska. Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska had faced US sanctions for interfering in the 2016 US presidential election. According to the indictment Charles McGonigal is also suspected of receiving at least $225,000 in secret payments from a former employee of an Albanian intelligence service while still at the agency in exchange for business interests, without disclosing his relationship with the bureau. The former Albanian agent became a businessman and is now a naturalized US citizen living in New Jersey.
US prosecutors have opened an investigation into possible gifts that former FBI agent Charles McGonigal may have received from officials in Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, CNN reported.
Prosecutors say that during several foreign trips to Albania, Austria and Germany, McGonigal failed to report that he met with “the Albanian prime minister, a Kosovar politician and others” when he was required to report his foreign travel and contacts with foreign nationals as an FBI agent.
In all, he faces nine charges announced by the US Attorney’s Offices for the Southern District of New York and Washington. Charles McGonigal pleaded not guilty through his lawyer at an arraignment on 23 January in New York. If this is true this is tragic for McGonigal, who was forced to surrender his passport and is currently banned from international travel.