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US: Former FBI counterintelligence officer helped oligarch from Russia

By 01/23/2023 1:06 PMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff

A former senior FBI counterintelligence agent has been charged with aiding a Russian oligarch in defiance of American sanctions.

In a second indictment, he was accused of stealing money from a former foreign security officer.

An unsealed indictment on Monday accuses Charles McGonigal, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s counterintelligence division in New York from 2016 to 2018, of working with a former Soviet diplomat turned Russian interpreter on behalf of Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska.

Before his retirement in 2018, McGonigal, who had overseen investigations into Russian oligarchs, including Deripaska, allegedly attempted to have the sanctions against him lifted in 2019 and stole money from him in 2021 to look into a rival oligarch.

The interpreter, Sergey Shestakov, 69, and McGonigal, 54, were taken into custody on Saturday.

After arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport, McGonigal was arrested.

On Monday, they are expected to appear in court in Manhattan. Both are being detained in a Brooklyn federal prison.

McGonigal and Shestakov are accused of conspiring to commit money laundering, violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, and violating the act itself.

Shestakov is also charged with lying to the FBI about essential matters.

In a separate case, McGonigal was brought before a federal judge in Washington, D.C., with hiding payments totaling $225,000 that he received from an outside source while visiting Europe.

McGonigal was expected to report contacts with foreign officials to the FBI, but prosecutors claim he did not.

Due to Deripaska’s alleged connections to the Russian government and energy industry, as well as Russia’s continuous threats against Ukraine, the U.S. Treasury Department added him to its list of individuals subject to sanctions in 2018.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan accused Deripaska and three accomplices of trying to break U.S. sanctions by arranging for the birth of his child here in September.

Lawyers for McGonigal and Shestakov have received messages requesting comment.

Deripaska’s attorneys did not promptly respond to a Monday email requesting comments.

According to the New York indictment, Shestakov introduced McGonigal to a former Soviet ambassador who served as Deripaska’s agent in 2018.

The Justice Department claims the person was “rumored in public media,” albeit he is not named in court documents.

The indictment claims that Shestakov requested McGonigal’s assistance obtaining an internship for the agent’s daughter with the New York Police Department.

Prosecutors claim that McGonigal concurred and informed a member of the police force that “I have interest in her father for several reasons.”

According to the Justice Department, McGonigal concealed from the FBI important information about a 2017 trip to Albania with a former agent of that nation’s intelligence service who had given him the $225,000.

Prosecutors claim that he failed to disclose information such as that he would receive free housing or that the individual was his traveling companion.

He spoke with Albania’s prime minister there, the Justice Department claims and advised him against giving oil field drilling licenses to Russian front companies.

Prosecutors say that McGonigal’s Albanian contacts had a financial interest in those decisions.

 

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