World Leader Denies Bribing FBI Official

World Leader Denies Bribing FBI Official

( – On January 18, a federal grand jury handed down a nine-count indictment against the former head of the FBI’s New York field office, Charles McGonigal. Court documents allege the now-retired agent received at least $225,000 in bribes from a former Albanian intelligence officer (Person A). Albania’s prime minister recently denied allegations he gave preferential treatment to McGonigal or bribed him.

Opponents of Prime Minister Edi Rama accused the ruling Socialist Party head of giving McGonigal preferential treatment during a 2017 visit with Person A. Members of the country’s Democratic Party are calling for parliamentary debate on allegations the former FBI agent met Rama and advised him against issuing oil exploration and drilling licenses to Russian front companies, as detailed in McGonigal’s indictment.

Rama gave a 45-minute speech denying the accusations lodged against him. He readily conceded meeting with McGonigal several times but denied bribing him or otherwise giving him special treatment. In his defense, he pointed out that McGonigal’s 16-page indictment did not accuse him of committing any crimes and failed to provide any other evidence of misconduct besides “the accurate reporting of my meetings” with the former FBI agent.

Albania’s center-right coalition, led by the former prime minister and current Democratic Party leader Sali Berisha and Freedom Party head and former President Ilir Meta, have been calling for the Socialist Party’s resignation amid allegations of corruption, links to organized criminal organizations, and for its mismanagement of the nation’s economic policies.

The party has faced internal fractures in the wake of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s May 2021 decision to ban Berisha and close family members from entering the United States for reportedly undermining Armenian democracy and committing significantly corrupt acts during his eight-year term in office that ended in early 2013. The United Kingdom followed suit in 2022.

Former Special Agent McGonigal faces additional charges in a five-count indictment alleging he violated US sanctions on Russia on behalf of Russian Oligarch Oleg Deripaska in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

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