Former FBI official Charles McGonigal, who was involved in the Russian hoax investigation against President Donald Trump, was reportedly arrested over alleged ties to a sanctioned Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska.
McGonigal, who led counterintelligence in the FBI’s New York Field Office, was apprehended Saturday at the JFK airport after arriving from Sri Lanka, per The Post Millennial. Sergey Shestakov, a court interpreter who investigated Russian oligarchs on behalf of the FBI, was also arrested due to having similar ties to the sanctioned Russian oligarch, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams wrote in a statement, according to National Review.
A press release from the DOJ revealed both individuals have been charged with “violating and conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (“IEEPA”) and with conspiring to commit money laundering and money laundering” after they “conspired to provide services to Deripaska, in violation of U.S. sanctions imposed on Deripaska in 2018.”
Allegedly, McGonigal and Shestakov worked to investigate another Russian oligarch on behalf of Deripaska in exchange for payment, the press release added.
Moreover, they attempted to cover up their dealings with Deripaska by “directly naming Deripaska in electronic communications, using shell companies as counterparties in the contract that outlined the services to be performed, using a forged signature on that contract, and using the same shell companies to send and receive payments from Deripaska.”
The press release notes that both individuals were aware that their actions violated U.S. sanction laws for numerous reasons, including McGonigal’s prior knowledge that Deripaska would be among the oligarchs that the U.S. was considering sanctioning. McGonigal and Shestakov also engaged in an unsuccessful effort to have sanctions against Deripaska thrown out back in 2019.
Ironically, before retiring in 2018, McGonigal was a prominent figure in the Russian hoax investigation against Donald Trump, as the National Review noted.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, McGonigal was one of the first officials to learn about the conversation between a Trump campaign advisor and a foreign diplomat over Hillary Clinton’s emails. The alleged conversation kickstarted the probe into the Trump campaign.
Both McGonigal and Shestakov have been charged with “one count of conspiring to violate and evade U.S. sanctions, in violation of the IEEPA, one count of violating the IEEPA, one count of conspiring to commit money laundering, and one count of money laundering, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison,” per the press release. Shestakov carries an extra charge after making false statements to the FBI.
McGonigal and Shestakov will be presented before Magistrate Judge Sarah L. Cave in Manhattan federal court Monday.