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Top FBI Official Who Investigated Trump’s Russia Ties Is Himself Being Investigated Over Moscow Ties: Ex-head of counterintelligence ‘had business dealings with sanctioned oligarch Oleg Deripaska’ and faces up to five years in prison
- Charles McGonigal was the target of a grand jury subpoena late last year
- An explosive new report claims he had multiple appointments with an aide to Kremlin-affiliated oligarch Oleg Deripaska
- Deripaska was sanctioned by the US Treasury Department for ‘malicious activity’ and ‘attempted to subvert Western democracies and malicious cyber activities’
- McGonagall reportedly introduced Deripaska’s assistant to a law firm that specializes in helping suspects accused of fraud
A senior FBI official who has been investigating Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia is now under scrutiny for his own ties to Moscow, a new report showed on Thursday.
Charles McGonigal is the former chief of counterintelligence at the FBI field office in New York City.
He has not been charged with crimes, Insider reports.
But if McGonagall’s work with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska is found to have violated the Foreign Agent Registration Act, he could face up to five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.
Deripaska, a close ally of Vladimir Putin, was also in close contact with 2016 Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and is said to have played a leading role in the Kremlin’s attempts to get involved in that presidential race.
He and his affiliates were sanctioned by the Treasury Department for “malicious activities” and “attempts to undermine Western democracies and malicious cyber activities.”
McGonigal’s ties to Deripaska are reportedly at the heart of a grand jury subpoena secretly issued in November 2021.
It is not clear whether the investigation is still ongoing.
But Thursday’s explosive report suggests McGonagall has had multiple contacts with a Deripaska employee, including a reference to a law firm that eventually turned into a lucrative deal for a former Soviet official.
Charles McGonigal has been a special agent in charge of the counterintelligence division of the FBI’s New York Field Office since he was appointed to that position by James Comey in October 2016.
That former official is Sergey Shestakov, who now lives in the US but is reportedly the ex-chief of staff to the Ambassador of the Soviet Union.
Shestakov revealed in a file that McGonagall was the key to helping him “facilitate” a meeting between Deripaska’s assistant and a shady consulting firm called Spectrum Risk Solutions.
McGonagall also introduced the Kremlin-affiliated billionaire’s assistant to a New York law firm known for helping clients accused of “fraud and misconduct” called Kobre & Kim.
It’s not clear what role Shestakov played in the referral, but he claimed to have received $33,000 for it.
It’s also not clear whether McGonagall’s work with Deripaska violates any laws, though Tim Weiner, a former intelligence community journalist, told Insider: “If McGonagall is in any way confused with Deripaska, it seems inappropriate, to be polite. say.’
McGonagall had a hand in the early stages of the Trump-Russia investigation that became Crossfire Hurricane
McGonagall is reportedly linked to Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who is a close ally of Vladimir Putin (pictured)
McGonigal did not respond to Insider’s request for comment, while Kobre & Kim declined to make a statement.
A senior FBI official suggested to the outlet that McGonagall’s investigation by a grand jury is extraordinary in itself.
“It’s rare for former FBI people, especially former senior FBI people, to end up being targeted by the grand jury,” they said.
McGonigal’s comprehensive FBI résumé includes investigating Wikileaks and Chelsea Manning, as well as investigating a Bill Clinton adviser for improper handling of classified national records.
He was reportedly one of the first federal law enforcement officers to discover that a 2016 Trump campaign official was bragging about Russians having malicious information about Hillary Clinton, leading to the infamous Trump-Russia probe known as Crossfire Hurricane.
At the time, McGonagall headed the cybercrime department at FBI headquarters in Washington.