Wednesday, March 29

A senior FBI official accused of collecting money from a Russian oligarch he investigated

Charles McGonigal was for years the head of the New York FBI in the pursuit of spies and, according to the authorities, who acted as a spy was himself. Two indictments filed against McGonigal argue that he violated sanctions and received payments for his collaboration with a Russian oligarch close to Vladimir Putin, Oleg Deripaska. Among his duties as head of counterintelligence for the FBI in New York, one of the assignments was to investigate Deripaska, an aluminum billionaire who was sanctioned by the US. As part of the indictment, prosecutors have accused McGonigal of working to remove Deripaska off the sanctions list, which blocks assets in the US and penalizes any financial transactions by US individuals and entities with whom they receive sanctions. McGonigal, 54, was arrested Monday in New York and charged with money laundering, violation of US sanctions in his relationship with Deripaska. He also received a second indictment, from the US attorney’s office in Washington, alleging that he concealed cooperation and payments totaling $225,000 from a man linked to Albanian intelligence services. Related News standard No The nine Russian oligarchs who have died since the Russian invasion of Ukraine standard No Another suspicious death of an oligarch critical of Putin: Pavel Antov fell out of a hotel window DS C The accusation is an embarrassment for the FBI, where McGonigal spent 22 years, much of it in positions of high responsibility in which he had access to highly sensitive intelligence information. Because of his charge, the investigation against him was carried out by FBI agents from Los Angeles and Washington. According to the New York prosecutor’s brief, Sergei Shestakov, a former Russian diplomat who obtained US citizenship and who has also been charged, put McGonigal in contact with a Deripaska employee before the FBI counterintelligence chief in New York. He will leave his position in September 2018. This Deripaska employee, whom the indictment names as ‘Agent-1’, was also a former Russian diplomat. McGonigal helped get his daughter to train with the NYPD’s counterterrorism unit. Later in 2019, McGonigal and Shestakov helped Agent-1 find a New York law firm that would work to lift US sanctions on Deripaska. The Russian oligarch himself signed a letter in which he promised to pay $25,000 a month for “other professionals.” The firm hired McGonigal as a consultant and paid him the same amount, which the former FBI chief received through a company owned by Shestakov. The director of the FBI, Christopher Wray, sent a circular to the entire security body in which he assured that his organization “sticks to the process and we treat everyone equally, even when he is one of us.” . McGonigal, who could face up to twenty years in prison, has pleaded not guilty and his lawyer, former prosecutor Seth DuCharme, said after the arrest that he had “a lot of confidence” in his client.

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