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Charles McGonigal, the former head of the Counterintelligence Division of the New York FBI office has been arrested for helping Oleg Deripaska avoid US sanctions on Russia. He was head of the division at the time Donald Trump was trying to get Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s account.

And oh, there is so much more to this.

CHARLES MCGONIGAL is a former Special Agent in Charge (“SAC”) of FBI’s Counterintelligence Division in New York, who retired in 2018.  While working at the FBI, MCGONIGAL supervised and participated in investigations of Russian oligarchs, including Deripaska.  SERGEY SHESTAKOV is a former Soviet and Russian diplomat who later became a U.S. citizen and a Russian interpreter for courts and government offices.

In 2021, MCGONIGAL and SHESTAKOV conspired to provide services to Deripaska, in violation of U.S. sanctions imposed on Deripaska in 2018.  Specifically, following their negotiations with an agent of Deripaska, MCGONIGAL and SHESTAKOV agreed to and did investigate a rival Russian oligarch in return for concealed payments from Deripaska.  As part of their negotiations with Deripaska’s agent, MCGONIGAL, SHESTAKOV, and the agent attempted to conceal Deripaska’s involvement by, among other means, not directly naming Deripaska in electronic communications, using shell companies as counterparties in the contract that outlined the services to be performed, using a forged signature on that contract, and using the same shell companies to send and receive payments from Deripaska.

MCGONIGAL and SHESTAKOV were aware that their actions violated U.S. sanctions because, among other reasons, while serving as SAC, MCGONIGAL received then-classified information that Deripaska would be added to a list of oligarchs considered for sanctions as part of the process that led to the imposition of sanctions against Deripaska.  In addition, in 2019, MCGONIGAL and SHESTAKOV worked on behalf of Deripaska in an unsuccessful effort to have the sanctions against Deripaska lifted.  In November 2021, when FBI agents questioned SHESTAKOV about the nature of his and MCGONIGAL’s relationship with Deripaska’s agent, SHESTAKOV made false statements in a recorded interview.

I should note that the title of this post jumps to conclusions not included in the Justice Department materials.

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