Oleg Deripaska: services of a former FBI agent secured?
Photo: Evgenia Novozhenna / REUTERS
Security forces have arrested a former FBI special agent over his alleged links to a Russian oligarch.
This is announced by the US Attorney's Office in New York.
According to broadcaster ABC, former FBI agent Charles McGonigal was arrested at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport on Saturday while returning from Sri Lanka.
McGonigal and interpreter Sergey Shestakov, who was also arrested, violated US sanctions by working for Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, sources say.
Deripaska had already been sanctioned by the United States in 2018 in the wake of the Ukraine conflict because he appeared to have acted on behalf of a high-ranking official in the government of the Russian Federation.
McGonigal, a former FBI counterintelligence officer in New York, previously conducted and oversaw investigations into Russian oligarchs, including Deripaska, it said.
In 2021, McGonigal, who left the FBI in 2018, conspired with Sergey Shestakov, a former Russian diplomat turned interpreter, to work for Deripaska.
They therefore agreed to investigate a rival Russian oligarch for Deripaska.
They are said to have received money from Deripaska for this.
The indictment alleges money laundering.
Back in 2019, McGonigal and Shestakov, who holds US citizenship, reportedly campaigned for US sanctions on Deripaska to be lifted.
However, the efforts were unsuccessful.
FBI feels it is their duty
As an officer, McGonigal should have known he was making a mistake, prosecutor Damian Williams said.
FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll said, "Russian oligarchs like Oleg Deripaska exercise malicious influence around the world on behalf of the Kremlin and are associated with bribery, extortion and violence." the United States and our allies is a crime that the FBI will continue to aggressively pursue."
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Deripaska himself was charged with sanctions violations in the United States in September.
If convicted, Deripaska - who was not in the US - could face up to 20 years in prison, according to the US Department of Justice.