Charles McGonigal, a top FBI counterintelligence agent who oversaw the 2016 investigation into potential Russian links to Donald J. Trump, has been jailed for accepting and laundering money for the Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska.
“Charles McGonigal, the former Special Agent in Charge of FBI’s Counterintelligence Division in New York, who retired in 2018, is accused of violating U.S. sanctions by agreeing to provide services to Oleg Deripaska, a sanctioned Russian oligarch. He is charged alongside Sergey Shestakov, a former Soviet and Russian diplomat who later became a U.S. citizen and a Russian interpreter for courts and government offices, through a five-count indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court Monday,” Fox News reported.
“McGonigal and Shestakov both were arrested Saturday. The indictment is a rare move by federal prosecutors to bring charges against a senior former FBI official before a federal grand jury. Though not referenced in or related to the indictment, McGonigal, while 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 George Papadopoulos, a campaign adviser for Donald Trump, boasted that he knew Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton, launching the investigation into alleged Russian election interference known as Operation Crossfire Hurricane,” the outlet added.
McGonigal and Shestakov “both previously worked with Deripaska to attempt to have his sanctions removed, and, as public servants, they should have known better,” U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams said in a statement. “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.”
“We’re supposed to believe that James Comey, Peter Strzok (FBI Counter Intelligence??), and Rod Rosenstein knew NOTHING about Charles McGonigal’s work for a Putin henchman until now,” one poster wrote on Twitter, in reaction to the story.
Corporate media outlets propagate the myth that Trump’s detention demonstrates his association with Russians.
” Charles McGonigal, who was in charge of counterintelligence for FBI-New York, tried to get Oleg Deripaska removed from US sanctions list,” ABC news reported, adding more details to the narrative.
CBS News reported: “McGonigal, 54, was accused in a five-count indictment of working for Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, who has been under U.S. sanctions since 2018. Sergey Shestakov, a former Russian diplomat turned U.S. citizen who worked as an interpreter for federal courts and prosecutors, was also charged in the scheme. Federal prosecutors allege the pair worked for Deripaska to investigate an unnamed rival Russian oligarch in 2021 in violation of U.S. sanctions and worked to conceal their activity. Shestakov faces an additional charge of lying to FBI investigators.”
“BREAKING : Former FBI agent Charles McGonigal, who was head of counterintelligence in the New York Field Office and a part of the investigation into supposed ties between Trump and Russia, was arrested over his alleged ties to Russia,” Officer Lew (@officer_Lew)posted on Twitter on January 23, 2023.
BREAKING 🚨: Former FBI agent Charles McGonigal, who was head of counterintelligence in the New York Field Office and a part of the investigation into supposed ties between Trump and Russia, was arrested over his alleged ties to Russia. pic.twitter.com/DWz2mD2TIm
— Officer Lew (@officer_Lew) January 23, 2023
“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. In addition, Shestakov is also charged with one count of making false statements, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, prosecutors said.”
The Fox News report added:
In 2014, former President Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13660, declaring a national emergency in relation to the situation in Ukraine after the annexation of Crimea.
On April 6, 2018, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated Oleg Deripaska as a Specially Designated National (SDN) for working on behalf of a senior official of the Russian Federation’s government and for engaging in the Russian energy industry.
The indictment alleges that in 2021, the two defendants promised to investigate a rival Russian tycoon of Deripaska in exchange for disguised payments from Deripaska, in breach of sanctions imposed by the United States in 2018. McGonigal and Shestakov allegedly knew their actions violated U.S. sanctions because, among other reasons, McGonigal received classified information that Deripaska would be added to a list of oligarchs under consideration for sanctions while serving as special agent in charge, as reported by Martin Walsh for Conservative Brief.
“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,” FBI Assistant Director in Charge Michael J. Driscoll said. “Russian oligarchs like Oleg Deripaska perform global malign influence on behalf of the Kremlin and are associated with acts of bribery, extortion, and violence.”
“After sanctions are imposed, they must be enforced equally against all U.S. citizens in order to be successful,” Driscoll added. “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.”