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Ex-FBI Official Charged with Helping Steele-Linked Russian Oligarch Evade U.S. Sanctions

Ex-FBI Official Charged with Helping Steele-Linked Russian Oligarch Evade U.S. Sanctions

A The former senior FBI counterintelligence official has been accused of helping Putin-allied Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska evade sanctions imposed on him by the US government.

Charles McGonigal, a 22-year FBI veteran who retired in 2018 as special agent in charge of the FBI’s counterintelligence division in New York, was charged by the Justice Department with conspiracy to violate and violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and conspiring to commit and commit money laundering as well.


While at the FBI, McGonigal had overseen and participated in investigations of Russian oligarchs, including Deripaska. McGonigal also played a role in the Trump-Russia investigation.

Deripaska himself was indicted in September on sanctions evasion related to his company Basic Element Limited, which was sanctioned by the Treasury Department in 2018 for operating on behalf of the Russian government.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Russian metals magnate Oleg Deripaska, right, walk to attend the APEC Business Advisory Council dialogue in Danang, Vietnam, Friday, November 10, 2017.

(Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

McGonigal’s alleged co-conspirator, Sergey Shestakov, a former Soviet and Russian diplomat who later became a US citizen and Russian interpreter for US courts and government offices, was indicted on the same charges as the former FBI official and was also accused of lying. to the FBI in November 2021 when questioned about his and McGonigal’s relationship with Deripaska’s agent.

“Charles McGonigal, a former high-level FBI official, and Sergey Shestakov, a court interpreter, violated U.S. sanctions by agreeing to provide services to Oleg Deripaska, a sanctioned Russian oligarch,” said Damian Williams, the ‘US Attorney for the Southern District of New. York, he said Monday. “Both previously worked with Deripaska to try to get his sanctions lifted and, as public officials, should have known better. This Office will continue to prosecute those who violate U.S. sanctions enacted in response to the bel· Russian embassy in Ukraine to line their pockets.”

A Washington, DC mansion linked to Deripaska was raided by the FBI in October 2021. Deripaska had sued the Treasury Department in 2019 to fight US sanctions against him, and the oligarch asked unsuccessfully in the Supreme Court last June to throw out the sanctions. .


The Justice Department said Monday that McGonigal and Shestakov conspired in 2021 “to provide services to Deripaska, in violation of U.S. sanctions imposed on Deripaska in 2018” and that “following their negotiations with an agent of Deripaska, McGonigal and Shestakov agreed and investigated. a rival Russian oligarch in exchange for hidden payments from Deripaska.”

The sanctions evasion and money laundering charges each carry a possible sentence of up to 20 years behind bars.

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