A former F.B.I. counter-intelligence official was arrested for money laundering offences and connections to a Russian oligarch.
What Happened: Federal prosecutors, in an indictment on Monday, said Charles McGonigal violated U.S. sanctions by taking secret payments from Russian businessman and Vladimir Putin‘s allly Oleg Deripaska, to investigate a rival, reported The New York Times.
“This is an unprecedented case, which rightly or wrongly will fuel political criticism and concern about the F.B.I.,” said a former prosecutor in the Justice Department’s national security division, Jonathan C. Poling.
“The charges demonstrate D.O.J. clearly intends to send a strong message, including to former officials that worked in national security fields,” he added.
The report added that McGonigal was also arrested on charges relating to his alleged acceptance of a $225,000 cash payment from a former Albanian intelligence officer during his time as special agent in charge for counter-intelligence at the F.B.I..
The Justice Department, in a statement, said that the former foreign security officer later became an F.B.I. source in a criminal investigation involving foreign political lobbying that McGonigal supervised.
Michael J. Driscoll, the assistant director in charge of the F.B.I.’s New York office, said, “Russian oligarchs like Oleg Deripaska perform global malign influence on behalf of the Kremlin and are associated with acts of bribery, extortion and violence.”
“There are no exceptions for anyone, including a former F.B.I. official like Mr. McGonigal,” Driscoll added.