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Ex-FBI counterintel official arrested for allegedly aiding Russian oligarch

A former top FBI counterintelligence official has been arrested and charged with helping a Russian oligarch evade US sanctions, the Justice Department announced on Monday.

Charles McGonigal, 54, was taken into custody on Saturday alongside Sergey Shestakov, 69, an ex-Soviet and Russian diplomat turned interpreter who became a US citizen.

A five-count indictment unsealed on Monday in the Southern District of New York charges the men with violating and conspiring to violate US sanctions, as well as conspiring to commit and committing money laundering.

Shestakov is separately charged with one count of lying to federal investigators, a charge related to a November 2021 interview with FBI agents in which the ex-Russian diplomat is accused of lying to the agents about his and McGonigal’s connection with an individual who served as the oligarch's agent.

The men are accused of helping Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch who was placed under US sanctions in 2018 for helping Russia's efforts to annex Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula. They are accused of investigating a rival Russian oligarch on Deripaska's behalf in return for what Justice called "concealed payments."

The payments were allegedly made through shell companies, and the men are accused of attempting to conceal Deripaska’s by refraining from naming him directly in electronic communications.

In addition to be placed under US economic penalties, Deripaska was indicted in September on charges of seeking to evade US sanctions directly.

McGonigal worked as a Special Agent in Charge with the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division in New York for two years until he retired from the bureau in 2018. He and Shestakov are scheduled to make their initial court appearance later Monday afternoon.

McGonigal faces up to 80 years in prison if found guilty. Shestakov faces up to 85 years.

Source: Anadolu Agency