A former special agent with the FBI’s New York Counterintelligence Branch and a former Soviet and Russian diplomat were arrested Saturday on criminal charges related to their alleged violation and conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering
According to court documents, Charles F. McGonigal, 54, of New York City, and Sergey Shestakov, 69, of Morris, Connecticut, are charged in a five-count indictment filed today in the Southern Circuit of New York with violation and conspiracy against violating the IEEPA and conspiring to money laundering and money laundering.
According to court documents, on April 6, 2018, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Oleg Deripaska as a Specially Designated National (SDN) in connection with its finding that the actions of the government of the Russian Federation in relation to Ukraine pose an unusual and exceptional threat to U.S. national security and foreign policy. According to the U.S. Treasury Department, Deripaska has been sanctioned for acting or allegedly acting, directly or indirectly, on behalf of a senior government official of the Russian Federation and in the energy sector of the economy of the Russian Federation Federation was active.
McGonigal is a former Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division in New York who retired in 2018. While at the FBI, McGonigal oversaw and participated in investigations into Russian oligarchs, including Deripaska. Sergey Shestakov is a former Soviet and Russian diplomat who later became a US citizen and a Russian interpreter for courts and government agencies.
In 2021, McGonigal and Shestakov conspired to provide services to Deripaska, in violation of US sanctions imposed on Deripaska in 2018. Notably, after their negotiations with an agent of Deripaska, McGonigal and Shestakov agreed in return to investigate a rival Russian oligarch and covert payments by Deripaska. As part of their negotiations with Deripaska’s agent, McGonigal, Shestakov, and the agent attempted to disguise Deripaska’s involvement by, among other things, not naming Deripaska directly in electronic communications and using shell companies as counterparties in the contract covering the services to be provided outline. using a forged signature on this contract and using the same shell companies to send and receive payments from Deripaska.
McGonigal and Shestakov were aware that their actions violated US sanctions because, among other things, McGonigal received classified information while serving as SAC at the time that Deripaska would be added to a list of oligarchs as part of the process leading up to that would be considered for sanctions imposition of sanctions on Deripaska. Additionally, in 2019, McGonigal and Shestakov worked unsuccessfully on behalf of Deripaska to get Deripaska sanctions lifted. In November 2021, when FBI agents questioned Shestakov about the nature of his and McGonigal’s relationship with Deripaska’s agent, Shestakov gave false information in a taped interview.
McGonigal and Shestakov are charged in the Southern District of New York with conspiracy to violate and evade U.S. sanctions, violation of the IEEPA, conspiracy against IEEPA, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Shestakov also faces a charge of false testimony, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Shestakov and McGonigal were arrested in New York on Saturday and will appear before Judge Sarah L. Cave of federal court in Manhattan this afternoon for the first time.
Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division, US Attorney Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York, Assistant Director Alan E. Kohler Jr. of the FBI Counterintelligence Division, and Deputy Acting Director Michael J. Driscoll This was reported by the FBI field office in New York.
The FBI is investigating the case with valuable assistance from US Customs and Border Protection and the New York Police Department.
Assistant US Attorneys Hagen Scotten, Rebecca T. Dell and Derek Wikstrom for the Southern District of New York and Trial Attorney Scott Claffee of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Unit are prosecuting the case.
An accusation is just an allegation. All accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.