A former FBI agent and interpreter were arrested over the weekend for illegally working to help Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska, pictured here, avoid U.S. sanctions. File Photo by Anatoly Maltsev/EPA-EFE
Jan. 23 (UPI) -- A former high-ranking FBI official and a Russian interpreter were charged with working to help a Russian oligarch avoid U.S. sanctions, the Justice Department said Monday.
Charles McGonigal was arrested on Saturday with Russian interpreter Sergey Shestakov, in connection with a five-count indictment unsealed Monday. The two were tied with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who has been sanctioned by the U.S. government.
They are charged with violating and conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and with conspiring to commit money laundering and money laundering.
Prosecutors also charged Shestakov with making material misstatements to the FBI. Both were expected to appear in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah L. Cave in Manhattan on Monday.
"As alleged, Charles McGonigal, a former high-level FBI official, and Sergey Shestakov, a court interpreter, violated U.S. sanctions by agreeing to provide services to Oleg Deripaska, a sanctioned Russian oligarch," said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams.
"They both previously worked with Deripaska to attempt to have his sanctions removed, and, as public servants, they should have known better. This office will continue to prosecute those who violate U.S. sanctions enacted in response to Russian belligerence in Ukraine in order to line their own pockets."
FBI Assistant Director in Charge Michael J. Driscoll said Deripaska performs global influence efforts on behalf of the Kremlin and is associated with acts of bribery, extortion and violence. He said McGonigal and Shestakov violated U.S. sanctions by acting on behalf of Deripaska to fraudulently used a U.S. entity to obscure their activities.
"After sanctions are imposed, they must be enforced equally against all U.S. citizens in order to be successful," Driscoll said. "There are no exceptions for anyone, including a former FBI official like Mr. McGonigal. Supporting a designated threat to the United States and our allies is a crime the FBI will continue to pursue aggressively."