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Former top FBI official charged with aiding Russian oligarch

Charles McGonigal, former special agent in charge of the FBI’s counterintelligence division in New York, leaves court, Monday in New York. The former high-ranking FBI counterintelligence official has been indicted on charges he helped a Russian oligarch, in violation of U.S. sanctions.

Charles McGonigal, former special agent in charge of the FBI’s counterintelligence division in New York, leaves court, Monday in New York. The former high-ranking FBI counterintelligence official has been indicted on charges he helped a Russian oligarch, in violation of U.S. sanctions. (John Minchillo, Associated Press)


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NEW YORK — Former high-ranking FBI official Charles McGonigal faces federal charges for allegedly colluding with sanctioned Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

McGonigal, who was arrested Saturday, is alleged to have conducted concealed investigations of Deripaska's political rival in exchange for monetary payment in 2021, hiding behind shell companies and forged signatures, according to a Department of Justice press release.

The ex-FBI official retired in 2018, but had served as special agent in charge of the FBI's New York Counterintelligence Division. Part of his role was to supervise investigations of Russian oligarchs, one of whom he ended up allegedly aiding.

Deripaska was sanctioned for "a long list of accusations including money laundering and threatening business rivals," as Forbes reported, making it illegal to provide him with services. McGonigal tried unsuccessfully to have the sanctions lifted in 2019.

The Russian billionaire may have also been linked to Russia's interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

McGonigal was also arrested for allegedly secretly receiving $225,000 from a foreign intelligence service employee while he was still working for the FBI.

"A senior FBI executive at the time, McGonigal is alleged to have committed the very violations he swore to investigate," said Donald Alway, assistant director in charge of the FBI's Los Angeles Field Office.

McGonigal was not alone in his alleged crimes. He is alleged to have conspired with Sergey Shestakov, a Russian diplomat turned U.S. citizen and court interpreter. They both faced 20 years in prison based on charges, which include violation of sanctions and money laundering.

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Hannah McKinlay

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