FBI official who investigated Trump ties to Russia was just arrested for illegal ties to Russian oligarch
On Saturday afternoon, 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.
CBS reports 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.”
As Business Insider reports, 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.”
Sergey Shestakov, a court interpreter who assisted in investigating Russian oligarchs for the FBI, was also arrested Saturday for his ties to Deripaska.
54-year-old McGonigal, who retired in 2018, was arrested at JFK airport after arriving in the US from Sri Lanka.
McGoniga “is charged with violating US sanctions by trying to get Deripaska off the sanctions list,” reports CBS.
According to the DOJ, in 2021 McGonigal and Shestakov agreed to investigate a Russian rival of Deripaska and allegedly received payments for their efforts. They are accused of forging signatures and receiving their funds from Deripaska through shell companies.
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.”