Charles McGonigal, 54, who was previously the special agent in charge of counterintelligence in the New York Field office and worked on the fabricated investigation into "collusion" between then-GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and Russia, has himself been arrested for having ties to a Russian oligarch, as reported by the UK's Daily Mail.
The report noted that McGonigal, who retired from the FBI in 2018, was busted on Saturday after he arrived at JFK International Airport in New York City following a trip to Sri Lanka.
The outlet noted further:
Law enforcement says he has links to metal mogul Oleg Deripaska, a Russian billionaire who was sanctioned by the US in 2018 and then charged with violating them last year.
Deripaska was among two dozen Russian oligarchs and government officials blacklisted by Washington in 2018 in reaction to Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump become president. Court interpreter Sergey Shestakov, 69, has also been charged in connection with the case and working with Deripaska.
According to the report, McGonigal has been charged with violating U.S. sanctions by attempting to get Deripaska, whose net worth is estimated at around $1.7 billion, off the sanctions list in 2019. McGonigal now has the dubious 'honor' of becoming the highest-ranking former FBI official who has ever been charged with a crime. Before he sold it in 2020, he was living in a swanky $730,000/month West Village apartment, so he clearly had some other means of making money other than his pension.
"Both McGonigal and Shestakov are accused of receiving payments through shell companies and forging signatures to keep it secret that Deripaska was paying them," the Daily Mail continues.
"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," FBI Assistant Director in Charge Michael Driscoll said in a statement.
"Russian oligarchs like Oleg Deripaska perform global malign influence on behalf of the Kremlin and are associated with acts of bribery, extortion, and violence," he added. "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," the statement continued.
According to the nine-count indictment, unsealed today, from August 2017 and continuing through and beyond his retirement from the FBI in September 2018, McGonigal concealed from the FBI the nature of his relationship with a former foreign security officer and businessperson who had ongoing business interests in foreign countries and before foreign governments. Specifically, McGonigal requested and received at least $225,000 in cash from the individual and traveled abroad with the individual and met with foreign nationals.
The individual later served as an FBI source in a criminal investigation involving foreign political lobbying over which McGonigal had official supervisory responsibility. McGonigal is accused of engaging in other conduct in his official capacity as an FBI Special Agent in Charge that he believed would benefit the businessperson financially.
Trump was dogged by this phony baloney allegation that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin teamed up to beat Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton before and throughout his presidency. Several subsequent investigations -- including by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Congress -- repeatedly found that the allegation was a manufactured lie.
But of course, no one who weaponized the government to go after a political rival was ever really held accountable.