August 20, 2023

Former FBI agent pleads guilty to conspiracy to violate US sanctions for assisting Russian oligarch

Charles McGonigal, a former Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Counterintelligence Division in New York, recently pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (“IEEPA”) and to commit money laundering for agreeing to provide services to US-sanctioned Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska in 2021.  McGonigal also waived prosecution by indictment and consented to a proceeding by criminal information instead.  In the plea agreement, McGonigal also admitted to the forfeiture allegation in the information, consented to the entry of the Consent Order of Forfeiture, and agreed to forfeit $17,500, which represents the proceeds traceable to the commission of the charged offense.

According to the Department of Justice, McGonigal admits that he agreed to evade US sanctions by providing services to Deripaska in 2021, even though he helped the US investigate Deripaska and other Russian oligarchs before he retired from the FBI in 2018.  According to court documents, Deripaska was designated by the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control for acting on behalf of a senior official of the Russian government and for operating in the energy sector of Russian economy.  The US District Court for the District of Columbia also affirmed that there was sufficient evidence to support OFAC’s determination that Deripaska acted as an agent for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In January 2023, McGonigal and a co-defendant were charged with violating and conspiring to violate the IEEPA and engaging in money laundering and conspiracy for agreeing to investigate a rival Russian oligarch for Deripaska in exchange for concealed payments from Deripaska.  According to the superseding information, McGonigal gathered derogatory information about one of Deripaska’s rivals in violation of IEEPA and used two shell corporations to send and receive payments from Deripaska in an effort to conceal that the payments were from Deripaska.

The US government’s case against Sergey Shestikov, McGonigal’s co-defendant, continues.

DOJ Press Release | Plea Agreement | Waiver of Indictment | Superseding Information | Consent Preliminary Order of Forfeiture/Money Judgment