A former top FBI official involved in the investigation of alleged ties between Russia and Donald Trump has been charged with violating U.S. sanctions against Russia.
Charles McGonigal, who previously worked as the counterintelligence director in the FBI’s New York field office, was arrested for violating U.S. sanctions against Russia over his work with Oleg Deripaska, a sanctioned Russian oligarch.
McGonigal was charged along with a court interpreter, Sergey Shestakov, who also had ties to Deripaska according to The Hill.
According to the FBI, McGonigal took money from Deripaska in exchange for investigating a rival Russian oligarch. The indictment also alleges also claims that the duo was actively trying to conceal the identity of Deripaska when negotiating the deal.
“They both previously worked with Deripaska to attempt to have his sanctions removed, and, as public servants, they should have known better,” U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams said in a statement. “This Office will continue to prosecute those who violate U.S. sanctions enacted in response to Russian belligerence in Ukraine in order to line their own pockets”
The FBI alleges that the two attempted to conceal Deripaska’s involvement by “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.”
The two were charged with one count of conspiring to violate and evade U.S. sanctions, in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), one count of violating the IEEPA, one count of conspiring to commit money laundering, and one count of money laundering, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Shestakov is also charged with one count of making false statements, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
After leaving the FBI, McGonigal worked for Deripaska directly, making $42,000 a month.