Former FBI Official Who Helped Spark Russia Probe Under Scrutiny

Former FBI Official Who Helped Spark Russia Probe Under Scrutiny fbi logo under a microscope (Dreamstime)

By Solange Reyner | Thursday, 15 September 2022 03:32 PM EDT

Charles McGonigal, a former FBI official who helped trigger the probe into Russia's role into former President Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, is under scrutiny by federal prosecutors for his own ties to Moscow and other foreign governments, reports Business Insider.

The U.S. Attorney's Office last year secretly convened a grand jury to examine McGonigal's business dealings with a top aide to Oleg Deripaska, a billionaire Russian oil tycoon and longtime associate of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Deripaska in 2021 was investigated by the Justice Department for money laundering and accused of "threatening the lives of business rivals, illegally wiretapping a government official, and taking part in extortion and racketeering."

McGonigal, who retired from the FBI in 2018, led the agency's counterintelligence division in New York. He also served as the cyber-counterintelligence section chief in Washington, D.C.

According to the Insider, McGonigal helped spark the FBI's investigation into alleged collusion between Trump and Russia.

Business Insider obtained a witness subpoena issued in November 2021 that requests records related to McGonigal and consulting firm Spectrum Risk Solutions. A separate filing showed that Soviet-born immigrant Sergey Shestakov told authorities that McGonigal helped him "facilitate" an introduction between Spectrum and Deripaska's aide.

McGonigal also helped introduce the aide to New York-based law firm Kobre & Kim, which specializes in representing clients who are being investigated on suspicion of "fraud and misconduct."

Kobre & Kim told Business Insider: "This is not an area where we can provide a statement at this time."

McGonigal previously led the FBI's investigation into Chelsea Manning and Sandy Berger.

The witness subpoena says prosecutors are also looking into whether McGonigal has ties to the Bosnian and Herzegovinian government and whether he received payments or gifts from the governments of Kosovo, Montenegro and Albania.

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