A court in New York has sentenced Charles McGonigal to prison for damaging national security by colluding with a Russian oligarch.
The Manhattan District Court in New York has sentenced former FBI agent Charles McGonigal, whom prosecutors accused of working for Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch close to the Russian president. McGonigal, who worked in the New York branch of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, was sentenced by the court to 50 months in prison and a $40,000 fine. Earlier, Charles McGonigal pleaded guilty and repented of his crime, and instead of five years, which the prosecution insisted on, the judge sentenced him to four years and two months.
The former FBI agent was accused of conspiring with a businessman close to the Kremlin, Voice of America reported, to find dirt on Deripaska’s rival for a fee. McGonigal cooperated with Deripaska in defiance of sanctions imposed on him for Moscow’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election, and even tried to help him avoid sanctions.
Deripaska – and all the other oligarchs, too – will continue to try to buy advocates in West, and greed ensures their efforts will continue to work with certain individuals, believes former CIA officer, author of the Victor Caro series Alex Finley.
“It is sad on an individual level, but also a societal one. One of the consequences of such cases is that we begin to lose faith in our institutions. If the former head of FBI counterintelligence who worked on Russia issues and should know better, is himself corrupted by Russia, why should Americans have any faith in their public servants? Cases like these serve to lower public trust in government institutions, which in turn hurts democratic efforts and aids the slide toward authoritarianism. Someone like McGonigal should have been fighting corruption, not participating in it,” wrote Finley to us in statement.
It should serve as a reminder that corruption is a threat to democracies, and we need to reconcile our own participation in such practices, Finley believes.