Former Top F.B.I. Official in New York Charged With Aiding Oligarch
Charles McGonigal, the city's head of counterintelligence, is accused by the prosecution of working covertly for Oleg Deripaska to look into a Russian rival.
|Oleg Deripaska is the one who has been accused of breaking American sanctions.|
An ex-high-ranking FBI agent has been charged with receiving money from a former foreign intelligence agency agent and conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions on Russia by receiving cash payments in secret from Russian businessman Oleg V. Deripaska, the authorities announced on Monday.
Charles McGonigal, a former officer who oversaw and took part in investigations of Russian oligarchs, including Mr. Deripaska, before retiring in 2018, was the special agent in charge of the F.B.I.'s counterintelligence section in New York, according to the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan.
By offering to assist Mr. Deripaska, who was charged last year on sanctions-related crimes, in his efforts to remove his name from the sanctions list and by looking into a rival oligarch, Mr. McGonigal, 54, according to federal authorities, violated American law. The allegations against an F.B.I. official are exceedingly severe and uncommon, and they show how Russian billionaires may penetrate the highest levels of American law enforcement.
According to Jonathan C. Poling, a former prosecutor in the Justice Department's national security section, "this is an extraordinary case, which, properly or wrongly, will feed political criticism and worry about the F.B.I." The charges show that the DOJ plainly wants to make a strong statement, even to former officials who had positions in the national security sector.
According to the indictment, which was released in Washington on Monday, Mr. McGonigal hid from the F.B.I. his relationship with a former Albanian intelligence officer from whom he received $225,000 in cash both while he was employed by the bureau and after his retirement. The Justice Department released a statement saying the individual turned into an F.B.I. source in a criminal investigation involving foreign political lobbying that Mr. McGonigal oversaw.
According to Michael J. Driscoll, the F.B.I.'s associate director in charge of the New York office, the agency is dedicated to upholding economic sanctions that are intended to defend the United States and its allies.