“A former high-level U.S. counterintelligence agent pleaded guilty to accepting secret payments from Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska after accepting a deal with prosecutors that reduces the amount of prison time he faces for the offense.

The guilty plea entered by Charles McGonigal in Manhattan federal court represents a spectacular admission for a former senior official at the Federal Bureau of Investigation who retired from the agency in 2018 after a career that saw him rise to become the head of the agency’s counterintelligence operations in New York, a position where he held insight into some of the agency’s most sensitive investigations.

On Tuesday, McGonigal said he had agreed to do open-source research for Deripaska on one of the oligarch’s rivals, Vladimir Potanin, in hopes of getting the latter Russian added to U.S. blacklists. McGonigal accepted $17,500 from the oligarch in 2021, knowing that the work and the payment, which he admitted trying to conceal, violated sanctions that were placed on Deripaska in 2018.”