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Former FBI agent who led Trump-Russia probe to help Russian oligarch evade sanctions, money laundering arrested

Former FBI agent who led Trump-Russia probe to help Russian oligarch evade sanctions, money laundering arrested

A former FBI agent and top counterintelligence operations official in New York has been arrested and charged over his involvement with a sanctioned Russian oligarch, according to Fox News.

Charles McGonigal, special agent in charge of the counterintelligence division of the FBI’s New York field office from 2016 to 2018, allegedly violated U.S. sanctions by agreeing to provide services to Oleg Deripaska, a Russian indicted in 2022 for violating the sanctions against him.

McGonigal was among the top FBI officials who learned of President Donald Trump’s team’s claims that Russia had compromising knowledge about then-candidate Hillary Clinton, leading to the years-long investigation into Trump’s alleged ties to Russia.

McGonigal was charged alongside Sergey Shestakov, a former diplomat from the Soviet Union and then the Russian Federation who became an American citizen and Russian interpreter for both courts and government offices.

Both are charged with one count of conspiracy to violate and evade US sanctions, one count of violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, as well as one count of money laundering. Each of these charges carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Shestakov was also charged with one count of making false statements, which could carry an additional five years in prison, prosecutors said via Fox News.

“They both previously worked with Deripaska to try to get his sanctions lifted, and as public officials, they should have known better,” said Damian Williams, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

“This Office will continue to prosecute those who violate U.S. sanctions enacted in response to Russian belligerence in Ukraine to line their pockets,” Williams’ statement continued.

Deripaska was sanctioned in 2018 by the US Treasury Department for acting “for or on behalf of a senior Russian official”.

He was then indicted in 2022 along with three others “in a scheme to ensure that his child was born in the United States.”

“Russian oligarchs like Oleg Deripaska exert global malign influence on behalf of the Kremlin and are associated with acts of bribery, extortion and violence,” said FBI Deputy Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll.

The FBI official said the agency is committed to continuing to pursue these financial sanctions in the future.

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