The FBI has another black eye. Over the weekend, former agent Charles McGonigal was arrested at JFK airport in New York while returning from a trip to the Middle East.
Federal prosecutors said McGonigal, the former head of counterintelligence for the FBI’s New York field office, laundered money for a sanctioned Russian oligarch. Not only that, prosecutors accused McGonigal of taking a quarter of a million dollars in cash from a foreign intelligence agent, and then traveling the world with that agent while still working for the FBI.
According to court documents unsealed this week, McGonigal and Sergey Shestakov, a court translator, agreed to help launder money for Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch with close ties to Vladimir Putin.
McGonigal and Shestakov, who also has ties to Deripaska, allegedly conspired to have the sanctions on Deripaska lifted. The two additionally agreed to investigate a rival oligarch in return for payment. McGonigal allegedly created shell corporations to hide the money trail.
This isn’t the first time McGonigal’s name has been connected to a Russian investigation. While at the FBI, McGonigal was part of the Crossfire Hurricane probe looking into the alleged connection between Russia and then candidate Donald Trump’s campaign. However, we don’t know to what level he was involved in that investigation.
Reuters contributed to this report.
THE FBI HAS ANOTHER BLACK EYE. OVER THE WEEKEND, FORMER AGENT CHARLES MCGONIGAL WAS ARRESTED IN NEW YORK.
FEDERAL PROSECUTORS SAY MCGONIGAL, THE FORMER HEAD OF COUNTERINTELLIGENCE FOR THE FBI’S NEW YORK FIELD OFFICE, LAUNDERED MONEY FOR A SANCTIONED RUSSIAN OLIGARCH.
NOT ONLY THAT, PROSECUTORS SAY MCGONIGAL, WHILE STILL WORKING FOR THE FBI, TOOK A QUARTER OF A MILLION DOLLARS IN CASH FROM A FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE AGENT, AND THEN TRAVELED THE WORLD WITH THAT AGENT.
ACCORDING TO COURT DOCUMENTS UNSEALED THIS WEEK, MCGONIGAL AND A COURT TRANSLATOR AGREED TO HELP LAUNDER MONEY FOR OLEG DERIPASKA, A RUSSIAN OLIGARCH WITH CLOSE TIES TO VLADIMIR PUTIN.
MCGONIGAL ALLEGEDLY CONSPIRED TO HAVE THE SANCTIONS ON DERIPASKA LIFTED. HE ALSO AGREED TO INVESTIGATE A RIVAL OLIGARCH IN RETURN FOR PAYMENT. MCGONIGAL SET UP SHELL CORPORATIONS TO HIDE THE MONEY TRAIL.
THIS ISN’T THE FIRST TIME MCGONIGAL’S NAME HAS BEEN CONNECTED TO A RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION. WHILE AT THE FBI, MCGONIGAL WAS PART OF THE CROSSFIRE HURRICANE PROBE LOOKING INTO THE ALLEGED CONNECTION BETWEEN RUSSIA AND THEN CANDIDATE DONALD TRUMP’S CAMPAIGN. HOWEVER, WE DON’T KNOW TO WHAT LEVEL HE WAS INVOLVED IN THAT INVESTIGATION.
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