Retired FBI counterintelligence agent, Charles McGonigal, reportedly involved in the former Trump-Russia probe, was arrested for ties to Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska. He has been charged with breaking U.S. sanctions, and developing alleged personal ties to Deripaska, amid the war in Ukraine.
The former special agent, in charge of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division in New York, who retired in 2018, Charles McGonigal, is now charged with violating U.S. sanctions, by agreeing to provide services to Oleg Deripaska, a sanctioned Russian oligarch. McGonigal was charged alongside of Sergey Shestakov, a former Soviet and Russian diplomat, who later became a U.S. citizen, and a Russian interpreter for courts and government offices. Currently, McGonigal is facing a five-count indictment, that was unsealed in Manhattan federal court on Monday.
Both McGonigal and Shestakov , were arrested Saturday. In a rare move, by federal prosecutors, before a federal grand jury, they brought charges against the former senior FBI official.
According to a previously reported Business Insider report, (though not referenced in or related to the indictment), McGonigal, while actively serving as chief of the cybercrimes section, at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., was one of the first bureau officials to learn of allegations regarding George Papadopoulos, a campaign adviser for former President Donald Trump. In fact, McGonigal, boasted that he knew the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton, launching the investigation into alleged Russian election interference known as Operation Crossfire Hurricane.
Likely briefed on Crossfire Hurricane, at the time the investigation was launched, McGonigal,
was a senior counter-intelligence official. Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York said in a statement-
"both (McGonigal, 54, of New York City, and Shestakov, 69, of Morris, Connecticut) previously worked with Deripaska to attempt to have his sanctions removed, and, as public servants, they should have known better," adding…"This Office will continue to prosecute those who violate U.S. sanctions enacted in response to Russian belligerence in Ukraine in order to line their own pockets."- Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York
Reportedly, both men are charged with one count of conspiring to violate and evade U.S. sanctions, in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act ("IEEPA"), one count of violating the IEEPA, one count of conspiring to commit money laundering, and one count of money laundering, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Also charged with one count of making false statements, Shestakov, if convicted, faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, prosecutors said.
In a statement, FBI Assistant Director in Charge Michael J. Driscoll said-
“The FBI is committed to the enforcement of economic sanctions designed to protect the United States and our allies, especially against hostile activities of a foreign government and its actors,"… "Russian oligarchs like Oleg Deripaska perform global malign influence on behalf of the Kremlin and are associated with acts of bribery, extortion, and violence”-Michael J. Driscoll, FBI Assistant Director in Charge
"After sanctions are imposed, they must be enforced equally against all U.S. citizens in order to be successful," additionally… "There are no exceptions for anyone, including a former FBI official like Mr. McGonigal. Supporting a designated threat to the United States and our allies is a crime the FBI will continue to pursue aggressively."-Michael J. Driscoll, FBI Assistant Director in Charge
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC"), on April 6, reportedly designated Deripaska, as a Specially Designated National ("SDN"), sanctioning him for acting on behalf of a senior official of the Russian Federation’s government, dand for operating in the Russian energy sector. FBI Assistant Director in Charge Michael J. Driscoll said -
"The FBI is committed to the enforcement of economic sanctions designed to protect the United States and our allies, especially against hostile activities of a foreign government and its actors," and…"The FBI is committed to the enforcement of economic sanctions designed to protect the United States and our allies, especially against hostile activities of a foreign government and its actors,"-Michael J. Driscoll, FBI Assistant Director in Charge
Reportedly, in violation of sanctions the United States imposed in 2018, the indictment says, that in 2021, the two defendants, agreed to and did investigate a rival Russian oligarch of Deripaska in return for concealed payments from Deripaska. Allegedly, McGonigal and Shestakov, knew their actions violated U.S. sanctions because, among other reasons, while serving as special agent in charge, McGonigal received then-classified information, that Deripaska would be added to a list of oligarchs considered for sanctions.
Using shell companies as counterparties, in the contract that outlined the services to be performed, and using a forged signature on that contract, while using the same shell companies, both men sent and received payments from Deripaska, according to the indictment.
Not directly naming Deripaska in electronic communications, as part of their negotiations with Deripaska’s agent, McGonigal, Shestakov and the agent attempted to conceal Deripaska’s involvement. In 2019, McGonigal and Shestakov, also allegedly worked on behalf of Deripaska in an unsuccessful effort to have the sanctions against Deripaska lifted. Also, In November of 2021, about the nature of his and McGonigal’s relationship with Deripaska’s agent, the interpreter made false statements in a recorded interview.
Reportedly FBI Director, Christopher Wray, told Fox News Digital –
"The way we maintain the trust and confidence of the American people is through our work—showing, when all the facts come out, that we stuck to the process and we treated everyone equally, even when it is one of our own. The FBI will go to great lengths to investigate and hold accountable anyone who violates the law, including when the individual is an FBI employee. We hold ourselves to the highest standard, and our focus will remain on our mission and on doing the right thing, in the right way, every time."- Christopher Wray, FBI Director
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”-Martin Luther King Jr.