By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
WASHINGTON (Worthy News) – A former high-level agent of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), who in 2016 looked into U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s alleged ties to Moscow, has been detained over his own connections with Russia and other foreign governments, officials said Monday.
Charles McGonigal, once the special agent in charge of counterintelligence in the FBI’s New York Field Office, is charged with a former Soviet diplomat for violating U.S. sanctions on Russia by providing services to oligarch Oleg Deripaska, authorities explained.
Deripaska was among those criminally charged by the United States last year with violating sanctions imposed in response to “Russia’s unprovoked military invasion of Ukraine,” said a document by the U.S. Justice Department seen by Worthy News.
McGonigal, who retired from the FBI in 2018, was arrested late Saturday after he arrived at JFK Airport in New York following travel in Sri Lanka, U.S. sources confirmed.
He is one of the highest-ranking former FBI officials ever charged with a crime.
In the case related to Deripaska, a five-count indictment in U.S. District Court in Manhattan charges the 54-year-old McGonigal and Sergey Shestakov, 69, with violating the Russia sanctions, in addition to money laundering.
Shestakov is a former Soviet and Russian diplomat who most recently worked as an interpreter for the Brooklyn federal court and prosecutors there, sources said.
He previously worked for the FBI investigating oligarchs and has U.S. citizenship.
Later, McGonigal and Shestakov allegedly agreed in 2021 to investigate a rival Russian oligarch in return for illegal payments from Deripaska, noted the U.S. Justice Department.
Both men are accused of receiving payments through shell companies and forging signatures to keep it a secret that Deripaska was paying them.
They face money laundering and other charges that each carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, according to sources observing the case.
McGonigal pleaded not guilty to the indictment unsealed Monday in Manhattan.
The judge ordered him released on a $500,000 personal recognizance bond plus restrictions on his travel and prohibitions on contacting anyone associated with the case.
McGonigal was separately charged Monday in Washington with accepting $225,000 in cash — while working at the FBI — from a former employee of a foreign intelligence service.
McGonigal, charged with making false statements and other charges in that case, also allegedly failed to disclose, as required, that during an October 2017 trip to Albania and Kosovo, he had met with Albania’s prime minister and with a Kosovar politician.
The FBI leadership expressed shock about the allegations surrounding a man who once investigated the Trump campaign over alleged wrongdoing with Russia.
“Mr. McGonigal betrayed his solemn oath to the United States in exchange for personal gain and at the expense of our national security,” said FBI Assistant Director in Charge Donald Alway.
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