A former top FBI agent was charged on Monday with violating US Sanctions on Russia by working with indicted Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska.
Charles McGonigal is accused of investigating a rival oligarch in return for secret payments from Deripaska, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
America put sanctions on Deripaska back in 2018 over his close ties to Russia’s government and its seizure four years before of the Crimea region from the Ukraine.
Deripaska, an aluminum billionaire was indicted in September last year over a scheme to allegedly obtain US citizenship for his two children in violation of the sanctions.
McGonigal, 54, is a former special agent in charge of the FBI’s counterintelligence division in New York. He retired back in 2018.
McGonigal supervised and allegedly participated in investigations of Russian oligarchs, including Deripaska, according to the U.S. government filings.
Prosecutors say that in 2021 he and Sergey Shestakov, a 69-year old former Soviet and Russian diplomat, “conspired to provide services to Deripaska,” violating the sanctions.
“Specifically, following their negotiations with an agent of Deripaska, McGonigal and Shestakov agreed to and did investigate a rival Russian oligarch in return for concealed payments from Deripaska,” said a Department of Justice statement.
McGonigal has been charged on four counts, including conspiring to evade US sanctions, violating the International Emergency Economic Powers ACT (IEEPA) as well as money laundering.
Each carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Shestakov has also been charged with an additional count of making false statements to investigators.
The two were arrested last Saturday in New York.
McGonigal and the interpreter, Sergey Shestakov were arrested Saturday — McGonigal after landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport and Shestakov at his home in Morris, Connecticut — and held at a federal jail in Brooklyn. They both pleaded not guilty Monday and were released on bail.
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