Credit: The Wall Street Journal
Former FBI agents Charles McGonigal, who was head of counterintelligence in the New York Field Office and a part of the investigation into Trump’s ties with Russia, was arrested over his own alleged ties to Russia.
ABC News reported that McGonigal was arrested over “his ties to Oleg Deripaska, a Russian billionaire who has been sanctioned by the United States and criminally charged last year with violating those sanctions.”
McGonigal was involved in the investigation into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia during the 2016 election.
Michael Driscoll, the FBI assistant director in charge, said in a statement, “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,” Driscoll said.
“As alleged, Mr. McGonigal and Mr. Shestakov, both U.S. citizens, acted on behalf of Deripaska and fraudulently used a U.S. entity to obscure their activity in violation of U.S. sanctions. After sanctions are imposed, they must be enforced equally against all U.S. citizens in order to be successful. There are no exceptions for anyone, including a former FBI official like Mr. McGonigal.”
McGonigal, 54 years old, was arrested at JFK airport after arriving in the US from Sri Lanka.
He is charged with violating US sanctions by trying to get Deripaska off the sanctions list.
According to the DOJ, in 2021 McGonigal and Shestakov agreed to investigate a Russian rival of Deripaska. They allegedly received payments for their efforts. They are accused of forging signatures and receiving their funds from Deripaska through shell companies.
The Post Millenial reported:
They’re facing money laundering charges. “Each of four counts carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison,” reports CBS.
55-year-old Deripaska, an aluminum magnate worth $1.7 billion, was sanctioned in 2018 by the Treasury Department. The cause for the sanction according to Treasury officials was “the Russian government’s ongoing and increasingly malign activities in the world.”
The nine-count indictment alleges that between August 2017 and September 2018, McGonigal concealed from the bureau his relationship with this unidentified former foreign intelligence officer, all while he traveled abroad with the person and met foreign nationals.
The person is described as an Albanian national who was employed by a Chinese energy conglomerate.
In the court appearance in Manhattan on Monday, U.S. Attorney Derek Wikstrom said McGonigal would appear virtually on Wednesday before a federal judge in D.C. to be arraigned on allegedly taking $225,000 from the Albanian businessman.
Shestakov also allegedly lied to the FBI in November 2021 about his relationship with Deripaska. He has also been charged with one count of making false statements.
Deripaska was among two dozen Russians sanctioned in 2018 by the Treasury Department as punishment for “the Russian government’s ongoing and increasingly malign activities in the world,” according to Treasury officials.