Ex-FBI agent arrested for connections to Russian oligarch

A former FBI counterintelligence leader behind the Trump-Russia probe was arrested for his own connections to a Russian oligarch.

Charles McGonigal, who retired from the FBI in 2018, was charged with violating U.S. sanctions in relation to Oleg Deripaska.

The details

“Charles McGonigal, the former special agent in charge of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division in New York who retired in 2018, is charged with violating U.S. sanctions by agreeing to provide services to Oleg Deripaska, a sanctioned Russian oligarch,” Fox News reported.

“He was charged alongside Sergey Shestakov, a former Soviet and Russian diplomat who later became a U.S. citizen and a Russian interpreter for courts and government offices, through a five-count indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court Monday,” it added.

The twist

“The indictment marks a surprising twist given McGonigal’s involvement with the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s links to Russia. As a top counterintelligence official, McGonigal was one of the first individuals at the FBI to learn that a Trump campaign adviser had discussed Hillary Clinton’s emails with a foreign diplomat,” the Free Beacon reported.

“The FBI opened its investigation of the Trump campaign based on that conversation, but later found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia,” it added.

McGonigal was charged with conspiring to violate and evade U.S. sanctions, in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, one count of violating the IEEPA, one count of conspiring to commit money laundering, and one count of money laundering, according to the Justice Department.

Each of the charges carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, according to the DOJ.

Pleads not guilty

“McGonigal pleaded not guilty to the four-count indictment unsealed Monday in Manhattan,” ABC News reported.

“The judge ordered him released on a $500,000 personal recognizance bond plus restrictions on his travel and prohibitions on contacting anyone associated with the case,” it added.

The high-profile case will likely continue in the headlines for some time as Americans seek answers behind the charges of the former FBI leader.