US Charges Ex-FBI Agent With Violating Russian Sanctions

On Monday, former FBI agent Charles McGonigal pleaded not guilty to charges related to allegedly working with a sanctioned Russian businessman and hiding money he received from a former Albanian intelligence employee while he was at the Bureau.

US Charges Ex-FBI Agent With Violating Russian Sanctions
Image credit: AP [via New York Post]

Facts

  • On Monday, former FBI agent Charles McGonigal pleaded not guilty to charges related to allegedly working with a sanctioned Russian businessman and hiding money he received from a former Albanian intelligence employee while he was at the Bureau.
  • Prosecutors allege McGonigal unsuccessfully worked with a law firm to lift sanctions on Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska. They further add that he and Sergey Shestakov, a former Russian diplomat, then negotiated with Deripaska's agent to proceed without the firm.
  • McGonigal and Shestakov, who became a US citizen and worked as an interpreter for US courts, allegedly worked for Deripaska to investigate an unnamed rival Russian businessman in 2021, in violation of US sanctions.
  • McGonigal is also charged with receiving $225k from a former Albanian intelligence officer in return for urging the Albanian PM not to issue "oil field drilling licenses in Albania to Russian front companies," contracts the intelligence officer reportedly had financial interests in.
  • Both men are charged with violating US sanctions law, conspiring to violate and evade sanctions law, conspiring to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Each count carries a maximum of 20 years in prison, with Shestakov also facing five years for lying to the FBI.

Sources: CNN, Wall Street Journal, CBS, and Forbes.

Narratives

  • Republican narrative, as provided by RedState. The irony here is incredible. McGonigal — one of the men in charge of designing the "Russia Collusion" theory against former Pres. Trump — has now been accused of having done the exact thing he falsely claimed Trump did. This illustrates how far the rot has spread among the FBI.
  • Democratic narrative, as provided by AlterNet. One rogue agent shouldn’t tarnish all the hard work the rest of the Bureau does on a daily basis. The American people can rest assured the FBI is committed to sticking to its processes and dispersing justice equally. The charges against McGonigal are proof that no one is above the law.
  • Narrative C, as provided by MSN. While these are serious allegations, the trial is in its infancy, and the media needs to be careful not to jump to conclusions. The justice system should be left to render a verdict without interference, and until then, McGonigal should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.