FBI Agent Who Led Trump-Russia Probe Arrested for Colluding with Russian Oligarch

A former senior FBI counterintelligence official, who led the Trump-Russia probe, has been arrested for colluding with a Russian oligarch to avoid US sanctions, according to prosecutors.

Former high-profile FBI official Charles McGonigal was arrested Saturday for violating U.S. sanctions.

McGonigal was caught agreeing to provide services to Oleg Deripaska, a sanctioned Russian oligarch.

He has also been charged with money laundering and conspiring to commit money laundering.

He is charged alongside Sergey Shestakov, a former Soviet and Russian diplomat who later became a U.S. citizen.

According to Fox News:

Though not referenced in or related to the indictment, McGonigal, while serving as chief of the cybercrimes section at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., was one of the first bureau officials to learn of allegations George Papadopoulos, a campaign adviser for Donald Trump, boasted that he knew Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton, launching the investigation into alleged Russian election interference known as Operation Crossfire Hurricane.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “As alleged, Charles McGonigal, a former high-level FBI official, and Sergey Shestakov, a Court interpreter, violated U.S. sanctions by agreeing to provide services to Oleg Deripaska, a sanctioned Russian oligarch.

“They both previously worked with Deripaska to attempt to have his sanctions removed, and, as public servants, they should have known better.

“This Office will continue to prosecute those who violate U.S. sanctions enacted in response to Russian belligerence in Ukraine in order to line their own pockets.”

FBI Assistant Director in Charge Michael J. Driscoll said:

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“The FBI is committed to the enforcement of economic sanctions designed to protect the United States and our allies, especially against hostile activities of a foreign government and its actors.

“Russian oligarchs like Oleg Deripaska perform global malign influence on behalf of the Kremlin and are associated with acts of bribery, extortion, and violence.

“As alleged, Mr. McGonigal and Mr. Shestakov, both U.S. citizens, acted on behalf of Deripaska and fraudulently used a U.S. entity to obscure their activity in violation of U.S. sanctions.

“After sanctions are imposed, they must be enforced equally against all U.S. citizens in order to be successful.

“There are no exceptions for anyone, including a former FBI official like Mr. McGonigal.

“Supporting a designated threat to the United States and our allies is a crime the FBI will continue to pursue aggressively.”

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By David Hawkins

David Hawkins is a writer who specializes in political commentary and world affairs. He's been writing professionally since 2014.

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