New York Man Charged With Working in U.S. as Foreign Agent for Egypt: DOJ

An Egyptian-American man was charged with working as a foreign government agent without informing the United States Department of Justice.

Pierre Girgis, 39, is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Egypt. According to the Justice Department, he "tracked and obtained" information about Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's political rivals.

The indictment, released to the public January 6, 2022, said he was working under the "direction and control" of several Egyptian government officials when he got this information, reporting to them about it.

The department added that Girgis had been working under these Cairo officials from 2014 to 2019, possibly longer.

He was also accused of arranging "benefits" for Egyptian officials visiting New York and meetings between Egyptian and American law enforcement, with Egyptian officials coming to the U.S. for police training.

Girgis, a Manhattan resident, pleaded not guilty to the charges. The Justice Department's statement said the FBI's Counterintelligence Division and New York Field Office are currently investigating the matter.

"As alleged, Pierre Girgis failed to meet his requirements to register as a foreign agent in the United States," Damian Williams, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in the statement. "This office will continue to strictly enforce foreign agent registration laws, which remain critically important to ensuring that our government is not secretly influenced by foreign governments."

Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Egypt
A New York man was charged with acting as an agent for the Egyptian government without informing the U.S. Department of Justice. Above, Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi speaks during the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 at SECC on November 1, 2021, in Glasgow, United Kingdom. Photo by Yves Herman/WPA Pool/Getty Images

Girgis pleaded not guilty on Thursday before a federal magistrate in Manhattan and was released on his own recognizance. A lawyer for him, Andrew Dalack, declined to comment when contacted by the Associated Press.

In April 2017, according to the indictment, Girgis shared with a law enforcement officer in the United States information about an el-Sisi activist that he had received from an Egyptian government official.

Months later, prosecutors say, he sent an identification card for a certain individual that he'd received from an Egyptian government official to a U.S. law enforcement official, and then relayed back to Cairo questions he had gotten from the American official.

An article on Inc.com describes a tourism-promoting trip to Egypt for about 100 New York City and Nassau County, New York, police officers that was co-organized by a Pierre Girgis, whom the piece identified as a Capital One banker of Egyptian descent. In the article, Girgis is quoted as saying the trip "carried an important international message of hope and cooperation."

A spokeswoman for the bank did not immediately return a message from The Associated Press seeking comment, but a person familiar with the case who was not authorized to discuss it by name confirmed on condition of anonymity that he worked for the bank.

The Justice Department has in recent years stepped up its criminal enforcement of statutes that mandate the registration with the Justice Department of people who act inside the U.S. as agents of a foreign government.

"The Department of Justice will not allow agents of foreign governments to operate in the United States to pursue and collect information about critics of those governments," Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen, the Justice Department's top national security official, said in a statement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

NYPD
An article on Inc.com describes a tourism-promoting trip to Egypt for about 100 New York City and Nassau County, New York, police officers that was co-organized by a Pierre Girgis, whom the piece identified as a Capital One banker of Egyptian descent. Above, a New York City police SUV with two NYPD counter terrorism officers sits on Broadway in New York, New York, on April 15, 2016. Raymond Boyd/Getty