281: Debra LaPrevotte – Oligarchs, Kleptocrats, A Nation For Thieves

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)

Debra LaPrevotte

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

The broader definition of a kleptocrat is someone who puts greed in their own personal enrichment over the wellbeing of their populace.







OPL 245
Mohammed Abacha, the son of President Abacha used the name “Mohammed Sani” to hide his 50% ownership in OPL 245. Mohamed owned Malibu with “Kweku Amafegha”, a pseudonym used by Dan Etete, the then minister of petroleum, (30%).











On her podcast, A Nation For Thieves, Debra takes us on an international treasure hunt, seizing mansions, yachts, airplanes, and bank accounts from kleptocrats.













Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, jokes that she writes about the FBI to relive her glory days. After 26 years with the Bureau specializing in major economic fraud and corruption investigations, she calls on her professional encounters with scams and schemers to write police procedurals inspired by true crime FBI cases in her Philadelphia FBI Corruption Squad crime fiction series featuring flawed female FBI agent Kari Wheeler. Jerri’s FBI for Armchair Detectives nonfiction series enables readers to discover who the FBI is and what the FBI does by debunking misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies. Her books are available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks wherever books are sold. She’s also the host of FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast with more than 300 episodes available on all popular podcast apps and YouTube.


  1. […] 281: Debra LaPrevotte – Oligarchs, Kleptocrats, A Nation For Thieves […]

  2. Bob RenchFebruary 18, 2023

    Hi. Love your podcast. I have a question. How do these kleptocracy’s come under FBI jurisdiction? These seem to be foreign countries by under US laws. Can you clarify?

    1. Jerri WilliamsFebruary 20, 2023

      Thanks for listening! I asked Debra that question and she said US venue is established when the looted funds are transfered in US currency or transactions flow through US bank systems.


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