January 24 2023

Retired FBI agent and former Russian diplomat charged with sanctions violations for allegedly assisting Russian oligarch

On January 23, 2023, the Department of Justice announced charges against Charles McGonigal and Sergey Shestakov concerning allegations that they provided services to Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch, and received payments from Deripaska for those services.  The DOJ reports that the alleged services were provided after Deripaska was designated by the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control as a Specially Designated National, pursuant to Executive Order 13660 or regulations issued pursuant to it, for engaging in activities that threatened the security, sovereignty or territorial integrity of Ukraine.  According to a five-count indictment that was unsealed on January 23, 2023, McGonigal and Shestakov were charged by the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York for violating and conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (“IEEPA”) and for money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering.  Shestakov was additionally charged with making material misstatements to the FBI.

According to the indictment, McGonigal is an agent who retired from the FBI and Russian counterintelligence service in 2018, and Shestadov is a retired Soviet and Russian diplomat who eventually became a US citizen and who recently worked as an interpreter in the US federal court system.  Federal prosecutors allege that, in or around 2021, both defendants agreed to investigate a rival Russian oligarch for Deripaska in return for concealed payments from Deripaska.  In an effort to conceal Deripaska’s involvement in the scheme, McGonigal and Shestadov reportedly made an effort not to name Deripaska in electronic communications, used forged signatures in the contract for services, and used shell companies as counterparties in that contract – companies that were also allegedly used to send and receive payments from Deripaska.  Federal prosecutors further allege that, in 2019, the defendants worked unsuccessfully on Deripaska’s behalf to have the sanctions against him lifted.  Shestakov is also accused of making false statements to FBI agents, in November 2021, when he was questioned about the nature of his and McGonigal’s relationship with one of Deripaska’s agents.

DOJ Press Release | Indictment