FBI File: Famous Televangelist Tied to Mobsters, Terrorists

In 1973, Paul Crouch cofounded the Trinity Broadcasting Network, the world’s largest religious television network, one with an international following. He also has a pretty juicy FBI file.

A recently declassified FBI file reveals the troubled history of Crouch’s involvement with both narcotics sales and international weapons sales to questionable groups.

Along with fellow members of the religious right Oral Roberts and Reverend Earl Paulk, Crouch allegedly received funds from the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) for the purpose of running guns. He was also involved with mobsters and a “narcotics transfer of funds.”

But Crouch’s unsavory doings go far deeper than that.

As Gawker reports, the FBI file contains numerous leads concerning Trinity and Crouch’s troubling ties to infamous Genovese crime family boss Vincent Louis “Chin” Gigante. The evidence was never substantial enough to prove Crouch’s involvement with the mafia’s narcotic trade and money laundering schemes.

Crouch was also the subject of an international terrorism investigation for connections to the PLO. The investigation began in 1987 based on reports that Crouch, along with collaborators Paulk and Roberts, were anti-semites and white supremacists paid to run guns to the PLO so they could wage war against Israel.

The FBI eventually dropped the investigation for absolutely no good reason. The official document says that “Once Crouch was identified as the head of a religious organization, FBILA conducted no further investigation.”

Perhaps most disturbingly of all, a phone number owned by Trinity popped up in the FBI file investigating the Oklahoma City bombing — a domestic terrorist threat that killed 168 people.

As you might guess, Crouch and the Trinity Broadcasting Network has been subject to plenty of controversy surrounding their incessant drive for donations — of course, no one is quite sure what they do with those donations.

He died last November.