Charles McGonigal Controversy

Charles McGonigal has sparked controversy after breaking the Russian oligarch’s sanctions.

The Department of Justice announced Monday that a former FBI special agent in charge of counterintelligence at the bureau’s New York Field Office had been charged and detained for allegedly breaking American sanctions against a Russian oligarch.

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In defiance of American sanctions placed on Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska in 2018, the Justice Department claimed Charles McGonigal, who retired from the FBI in 2018, conspired with another defendant to provide services to the oligarch.

These counts included conspiring to violate and evade U.S. sanctions, conspiring to commit money laundering, and doing so.

According to the department, they were both detained on Saturday and will appear before a federal judge in a Manhattan court on Monday.

Charles McGonigal Controversy: What Did He Do?

After violating the sanctions imposed by the Russian oligarch, Charles McGonigal has caused controversy.

According to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York’s unsealed indictment, Deripaska’s rival Russian oligarch was the subject of an investigation that McGonigal and a former Russian diplomat and translator agreed to conduct.

Charles McGonigal 1
Russian sanctions violations are alleged to have been committed by a former special agent. (Source: Twitter)

It was done in defiance of sanctions the United States placed on Deripaska in 2018 in exchange for covert payments from Deripaska.

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According to the document, McGonigal started working closely with Deripaska after leaving the FBI in 2019 to have the sanctions imposed on the Russian businessman lifted.

Charles McGonigal Knew His Actions Violated Law

Federal prosecutors claim that McGonigal knew his actions violated sanctions. He received classified information at the time that Deripaska would be added to a list of oligarchs with close ties to the Kremlin that were being thought about for sanctions in his potential as the special agent in charge.

Charles McGonigal arrested
Charged former FBI official Charles McGonigal leaves a federal court in New York. (Source:

This information was contained in the 21-page indictment unsealed in the New York case on Monday.

According to the Treasury Department, Deripaska was punished for having “acted or purported to act” on behalf of a senior Russian government official and for working in Russia’s energy sector. The sanctions resulted from Russia’s annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine in 2014.

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According to the indictment, after McGonigal left the FBI, he and Shestakov introduced the Russian agent to a global law firm in Manhattan, which the agent sought to retain to have sanctions against Deripaska lifted.

Former FBI Agent Charged In Money Laundering

Charles McGonigal, 54, was charged with five counts of conspiring to violate the U.S. sanctions against Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska. 

The scheme also included charges against Sergey Shestakov, a former Russian diplomat who became a citizen and worked as an interpreter for federal courts and prosecutors.

According to federal prosecutors, the two allegedly broke American sanctions in 2021 while working for Deripaska to look into an unnamed rival Russian oligarch. They also allegedly tried to hide their work. Shestakov is additionally accused of lying to FBI agents. 

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Regarding at least $225,000 in cash he allegedly received from a person with business interests in Europe and who worked for a foreign intelligence service, McGonigal is also facing federal charges in the District of Columbia in a different case.

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