US: Ex-FBI counterintelligence agent aided Russian oligarch
A former high-ranking FBI counterintelligence official who investigated Russian oligarchs has been indicted on charges he secretly worked for one, in violation of U.S. sanctions. The official was also charged, in a separate indictment, with taking cash from a former foreign security officer.
Charles McGonigal, the special agent in charge of the FBI's counterintelligence division in New York from 2016 to 2018, is accused in an indictment unsealed Monday of working with a former Soviet diplomat-turned-Russian interpreter on behalf of Oleg Deripaska, a Russian billionaire they purportedly referred to in code as "the big guy" and "the client."
McGonigal, who had supervised and participated in investigations of Russian oligarchs, including Deripaska, worked to have Deripaska's sanctions lifted in 2019 and took money from him in 2021 to investigate a rival oligarch, the Justice Department said.
The FBI investigated McGonigal, showing a willingness to go after one of its own. Nonetheless, the indictment is an unwelcome headline for the FBI at a time when the bureau is entangled in separate, politically charged investigations — the handling of classified documents by President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump — as newly ascendant Republicans in Congress pledge to investigate high-profile FBI and Justice Department decisions.
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.
McGonigal, 54, and Shestakov, 69, are charged with violating and conspiring to violate the International Emergency...
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