FBI Agent in Trump-Russia Probe Charged With … Colluding With Russians

Charles McGonigal is accused of accepting payments in order to help a Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, evade sanctions.

AP/Dmitri Lovetsky, file
A former high-ranking FBI counterintelligence official has been indicted on charges he helped the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska in violation of U.S. sanctions. AP/Dmitri Lovetsky, file

A high-ranking former FBI counterintelligence agent has been arrested on charges of violating American sanctions against a Russian oligarch.

Charles McGonigal, who once headed the bureau’s New York counterintelligence efforts, was indicted Monday on five counts for allegedly receiving payments in order to assist the Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska. The charges include violating sanctions and money laundering.

Alongside a former Russian diplomat, Mr. McGonigal attempted to remove Mr. Deripaska from the sanctions, list according to the indictment. Mr. McGonigal and his alleged collaborator, Sergey Shestakov, are also accused of investigating one of Mr. Deripaska’s rivals at the oligarch’s bidding.

Mr. McGonigal investigated Mr. Deripaska during his time in the FBI, when the Russian’s name arose in connection to Paul Manafort, a former campaign manager for President Trump who was indicted and served time at the request of special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his investigation into connections between Mr. Trump and Russian officials. Mr. Manafort was convicted of crimes unrelated to the Trump campaign in 2018; he was pardoned by Mr. Trump in December 2020.

Business Insider reports that Mr. McGonigal was involved in the collusion investigation, as one of the “first officials” to learn of the email exchange between a Russian diplomat and a Trump campaign adviser.

Mr. Deripaska was added to the US sanctions list around the time that Mr. McGonigal retired from the FBI in 2018. 

Messrs. McGonigal and Shestakov will be tried in the federal district court at New York for the charges relating to their alleged work with Mr. Deripaska.

In a separate case, Mr. McGonigal was charged in federal court at Washington, D.C., for allegedly accepting $225,000 in cash bribes from an unidentified ex-Albanian intelligence officer who had business interests in Europe while still employed by the FBI. In a potential conflict of interest, Mr. McGonigal allegedly concealed the cash and later oversaw an investigation in which the former Albanian intelligence officer served as a source.

Before Mr. McGonigal’s retirement, prosecutors say he traveled to Albania in 2017 and failed to disclose key elements of his stay. He is also accused of making recommendations to Albanian government officials in the interest of the man who bribed him.

“Mr. McGonigal betrayed his solemn oath to the United States in exchange for personal gain and at the expense of our national security,” the FBI assistant director in charge, Donald Alway, said in a statement.

The New York Sun

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