During the conflict in Ukraine, a former senior FBI counterintelligence employee who led the Trump-Russia investigation was detained and accused of having suspected connections to a blacklisted Russian tycoon.
Special Agent Offers Services to Russian
By consenting to give aide to Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch facing sanctions, Charles McGonigal, the former special agent in charge of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division in New York, who resigned in 2018, is accused of breaking American sanctions.
A five-count indictment that was released in Manhattan federal court on Monday charges Sergey Shestakov, a former Soviet and Russian ambassador who subsequently gained American citizenship, and a Russian translator for courts and government buildings.
Shestakov and McGonigal were both detained on Saturday. It is unusual for federal authorities to indict a former top FBI employee in front of a federal grand jury.
Although not mentioned in or connected to the indictment, McGonigal was among the first FBI agents to gain knowledge of accusations that George Papadopoulos, a top aide for former President Trump, bragged that he knew Russians had information on Hillary Clinton.
This sparked Operation Crossfire Hurricane, Business Insider’s inquiry into alleged Russian election meddling.
Retired top FBI counterintelligence agent who led Trump-Russia probe arrested for own ties to Russian oligarch | Fox News https://t.co/6IkqQxVTTM
— Andrew Coyne 🇺🇦 (@acoyne) January 24, 2023
In a remark, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams said McGonigal, 54, of New York City, and Shestakov, 69, of Morris, Connecticut, both previously worked with Deripaska to try to get his sanctions eliminated, and, as public servants, ought to have known better.
This office will keep pursuing anyone who violates the U.S. sanctions put in place in reaction to Russian aggression in Ukraine in order to benefit themselves.
Both individuals face charges of breaching the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (“IEEPA”), attempting to breach and dodge U.S. sanctions, breaching the IEEPA, conspiring to engage in money laundering, and money laundering, each of which has a possible 20-year jail sentence.
Shestakov is also accused of producing inaccurate statements, which carries a possible five-year prison sentence, according to the prosecution.
FBI Gives No Special Treatment
According to FBI Assistant Director in Charge Michael J. Driscoll, the FBI is dedicated to the execution of financial sanctions intended to protect the United States and its partners, particularly against aggressive operations of a foreign government and its agents.
Russian oligarchs like Oleg Deripaska exert evil influence on a worldwide scale in service of the Kremlin and are linked to blackmail, brutality, and corruption.
Retired top FBI counterintelligence agent who led Trump-Russia probe arrested for own ties to Russian oligarch. Charles McGonigal charged with breaking US sanctions against Russia oligarch Oleg Deripaska, money laundering! #DefundTheFBI pic.twitter.com/dwRDFlt0VH
— Nebraska Freedom Coalition (@NebraskaFreedom) January 23, 2023
Driscoll continued by saying that for sanctions to be effective, they must be applied equitably to all residents of the United States when they are issued. There are no exemptions for anyone, not even Mr. McGonigal, a former FBI official.
The FBI will strive to go after anyone who supports a recognized danger to the United States and its friends.