Former FBI Agent Admits Concealing Payment From Foreign Official

Charles McGonigal, a former senior FBI agent, entered a guilty plea for concealing payments he received from a foreign official.

On Friday, the 55-year-old confessed in federal court to accepting a $225,000 payment from an Albanian intelligence official while he was overseeing counterintelligence at the FBI’s New York field office.

Prosecutors revealed that the foreign official subsequently became an FBI informant in a case involving foreign political lobbying under McGonigal’s supervision.

They also alleged that the agent deceived the FBI by failing to accurately report his trips abroad and interactions with foreign individuals during his tenure with the bureau. McGonigal faced a nine-count indictment, which included his journeys to Europe alongside the former Albanian intelligence officer in 2017 and 2018.

The 55-year-old explained that the purpose of these trips was to establish the groundwork for a security consulting venture they intended to start after McGonigal left the FBI.

During his court appearance on Friday, the former agent stated that he didn’t disclose the trips or the payments, which he characterized as loans because he believed he couldn’t engage in personal business endeavors while being employed by the FBI.

Last month, McGonigal entered a guilty plea for unrelated charges in New York concerning his involvement with a Russian oligarch, for which he is currently awaiting trial.

As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors have committed to request the dismissal of the remaining eight counts from the initial indictment.

McGonigal entered a guilty plea for one count of concealing material facts and could potentially receive a prison sentence of up to five years, along with a maximum fine of $250,000.

The sentencing hearing is set for February 16, 2024, as determined by the judge.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) issued a subpoena threat on Tuesday, targeting the FBI for access to files related to McGonigal. Jordan criticized McGonigal’s recent plea deal with the Justice Department, characterizing it as a lenient outcome.

On September 19, Jordan sent FBI Director Christopher Wray a letter, saying, “Both McGonigal’s serious misconduct as a senior, high-level FBI official and the possibility of McGonigal receiving generous plea deals from the Justice Department in both cases raise significant concerns that the FBI and the Department may be attempting to hide the true extent of McGonigal’s misconduct to avoid further reputational harm to the Bureau.”
He then said, “If you refuse to voluntarily produce the requested documents and information, the committee may be forced to consider use of compulsory process.”