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Former top FBI official arrested over ties to Russian oligarch

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A former FBI official in New York has been arrested for his links to Russian oligarchs, law enforcement sources told ABC News on Monday.

Charles McGonigal was a special agent in charge of counterintelligence in the FBI’s New York field office. Oleg DeripaskaRussian billionaire sanctioned by US and criminally charged last year violate those sanctions.

McGonigal retired from the FBI in 2018. He was arrested Saturday afternoon after he arrived at JFK airport following a trip to Sri Lanka, sources said.

McGonigal pleaded not guilty to four counts that were made public in Manhattan on Monday.

A judge ordered him released on the condition of a $500,000 security deposit, as well as restrictions on his travels and prohibition from contacting anyone involved in the case.

He was indicted along with court interpreter Sergei Shestakov, who had worked with Deripaska.

McGonigal, 54, has been charged with violating US sanctions by trying to remove Deripaska from the sanctions list. McGonigal is one of the highest-ranking former FBI agents ever charged with a crime.

“Charlie has had a long and illustrious career with the FBI. He has served the United States for decades,” Seth Ducharm, McGonigal’s attorney, told ABC News in a statement. While today is clearly a tragic day for Mr McGonigal and his family, we have reviewed the evidence, scrutinized it closely, and have great confidence in Mr McGonigal.”

McGonigal and Shestakov, who were investigating oligarchs with the FBI, allegedly agreed in 2021 to investigate rival Russian oligarchs in exchange for payment from Deripaska, according to the Justice Department. McGonigal and Shestakov are accused of being paid through a dummy company and forging signatures to keep Deripaska secret that he paid them.

Both are facing money laundering charges in addition to sanctions violation charges. For each of the four counts, he will be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.

“The FBI is committed to implementing economic sanctions designed to protect the United States and its allies, particularly from hostile activity by foreign governments and their affiliates,” FBI Deputy Director Michael Driscoll said in a statement. Stated. “Russian oligarchs like Oleg Deripaska wield malicious influence globally on behalf of the Kremlin, engaging in bribery, extortion and violence.”

Driscoll continued, “Mr. McGonigal and Mr. Shestakov, as alleged, are both U.S. citizens, are acting on behalf of Deripaska, have misused U.S. After sanctions are imposed, they must be enforced equally.To be successful, we oppose all US citizens.Formers like Mr. McGonigal There are no exceptions for anyone, including FBI agents.”

After leaving the FBI, McGonigal then worked for Deripaska through a law firm representing Russian oil tycoons.

According to the indictment, he earned at least $25,000 as a law firm “investigator” on the Deripaska case.

McGonigal then worked directly at Deripaska, receiving $51,000 initially and $41,790 monthly thereafter for three months from August 2021 to November 2021.

According to the indictment, he told friends that he worked for “rich Russians” and emphasized that his work was legal. ‘ or ‘Do you know who?

The Washington, D.C., U.S. Attorney’s Office has launched another lawsuit against McGonigal, alleging that he received $225,000 in cash from an individual with business interests in Europe who knew that McGonigal was an employee of a foreign intelligence agency. was published on Monday.

According to nine indictments from August 2017 to September 2018, McGonigal hid his relationship with this unidentified former foreign intelligence officer from the agency until he retired from the FBI New York Field Office. . citizens. This person is described as an Albanian who was employed by a Chinese energy conglomerate.

The person later “served as a source for the FBI in criminal investigations involving foreign political lobbying” in which McGonigal acted as overseer.

In a court appearance in Manhattan on Monday, U.S. Assistant Attorney Derek Wikstrom said McGonigal will effectively appear before a federal judge in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday for allegedly accepting $225,000 from an Albanian businessman. rice field.

McGonigal’s attorney did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

Shestakov, 69, who lived in Morris, Connecticut, also allegedly lied to FBI agents about his relationship with Deripaska in November 2021. In addition to other charges, he has been charged with making false statements.

Deripaska was one of 20 Russians sanctioned by the Treasury Department in 2018 as punishment for “the increasingly malicious activities of the Russian government underway around the world,” according to Treasury officials. rice field.

of FBI searched his house in New York and Washington in 2021.

The 55-year-old Deripaska has a net worth of $1.7 billion, according to sources. forbes billionaire listhe was worth nearly $7 billion in 2018, the same year sanctions were launched by the US

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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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