An ex-top F.B.I. official was indicted on Monday January 23, 2023 with conspiring to contravene U.S. sanctions on Russia by receiving covered pay-offs from Russian billionaire Oleg V. Deripaska in return for probing into a rival oligarch, the authorities reported.
Charles McGonigal, who served as the special agent in charge of the F.B.I.’s counterintelligence division in New York until his retirement in 2018, had supervised and been involved in investigations concerning Russian oligarchs – including Mr. Deripaska – according to the government.
Manhattan federal prosecutors stated that Mr. McGonigal, 54, had broken American sanctions by striking a deal to aid Mr. Deripaska, who was accused of sanctions violations himself in 2021.
The indictment against Mr. McGonigal includes one count of violating U.S. sanctions, one count of money laundering, and two conspiracy counts.
Seth D. DuCharme, the lawyer for Mr. McGonigal, stated that his client plans to plead not guilty when appearing in federal court on Monday in Manhattan. “Charlie has served the United States with excellence for many years,” Mr. DuCharme remarked. “We have gone over the accusations by the government carefully and are eager to obtain discovery that assesses which evidence the government is using to support the arguments.”
The indictment also charged Sergey Shestakov, a former Soviet and Russian diplomat who acquired American citizenship and was employed as a Russian interpreter by courts and government institutions. When asked, Bennett M. Epstein, an attorney representing Mr. Shestakov, did not provide a comment.
Former colleagues of Mr. McGonigal were stunned by his arrest due to the fact that he had a long career as an investigator for the F.B.I. specializing in Russian counterintelligence and espionage. Additionally, he led an F.B.I. team tasked with discovering the cause of C.I.A. informants being arrested and killed in China.