In this episode, retired agent Debra LaPrevotte explains the difference between oligarchs and kleptocrats, breaks down the indictment of former FBI SAC Charles McGonigal, and reviews the Nigeria OPL 245 oilfield license bribery case.
The investigation involves two major oil companies charged with paying government officials to license the natural resource originally gifted by former Nigerian military ruler Sani Abacha to his son and to the country’s oil minister.
Debra served in the FBI for 20 years and spent most of her career working forfeiture matters and international corruption investigations. Later in her career, she was appointed as a Supervisory Special Agent in the International Corruption Unit at FBI Headquarters, focusing on investigating greed that fuels war crimes and atrocities. Since retiring from the Bureau, Debra is a senior investigator currently investigating violent kleptocracy in Sudan, South Sudan, Congo (DRC), Central African Republic and Somalia with The Sentry, which seeks to disrupt and ultimately dismantle the network of perpetrators, facilitators, and enablers who fund and profit from Africa’s deadliest conflicts. The organization’s motto is “War crimes shouldn’t pay.”
Debra LaPrevotte is the co-host of A Nation for Thieves. The podcast delves into how she recovered over $1 billion dollars of dirty money and helped create the FBI’s first kleptocracy unit, exposing the world’s most corrupt kleptocrats.
Oligarchs – Very rich business leaders with great political influence who benefits from the privatization of state-run industries.
Kleptocrats – Rulers who use political power to steal their country’s resources.
Special Agent (Retired)
11/1995 – 12/2015
“Putin is one of the richest men in the world. They assess his wealth at $20 billion. He didn’t make that from being a government official. So yes, he is definitely a kleptocrat.”—Retired Agent Debra LaPrevotte
The following are links to articles and releases regarding the indictment of an FBI official, kleptocrats, and the OPL 245 investigation:
Department of Justice – 1/23/2023: Former Special Agent In Charge Of The New York FBI Counterintelligence Division Charged With Violating U.S. Sanctions On Russia
New York Times – 1/28/2023: How an Oligarch May Have Recruited the F.B.I. Agent Who Investigated Him
Department of Justice – 3/2/2022: Attorney General Merrick B. Garland Announces Launch of Task Force KleptoCapture
Reuters – 3/17/2021: Timeline: Nigeria’s OPL 245 oilfield licence bribery cases
Debra LaPrevotte was previously interviewed on FBI Retired Case File Review – Episode 151: Kleptocracy, International Corruption, and Recovering Human Remains