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January 30, 2023 5:00 pm

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DOJ Indicts Deripaska


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Russian Oligarch Oleg Vladimirovich Deripaska and Associates Indicted for Sanctions Evasion and Obstruction of Justice


The Justice Department announced today the unsealing of an indictment charging a U.S. citizen and three citizens of the Russian Federation with violating new U.S. sanctions imposed earlier this year in response to Russia’s unprovoked military invasion of Ukraine.

According to court documents, Oleg Vladimirovich Deripaska, aka Oleg Mukhamedshin, 52; and Natalia Mikhaylovna Bardakova, aka Natalya Mikhaylovna Bardakova, 45, both citizens of the Russian Federation (Russia), and Olga Shriki, 42, a New Jersey resident and naturalized U.S. citizen, are charged with conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions imposed on Deripaska and one of Deripaska’s corporate entities, Basic Element Limited (Basic Element). Shriki is further charged with obstruction of justice based on her alleged deletion of electronic records relating to her participation in Deripaska’s sanctions evasion scheme following receipt of a grand jury subpoena requiring the production of those records. Bardakova is charged with one count with making false statements to agents of the FBI. Additionally, Ekaterina Olegovna Voronina, aka Ekaterina Lobanova, 33, is charged with making false statements to agents of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security at the time of Voronina’s attempted entry into the United States for the purpose of giving birth to Deripaska’s child. Shriki was arrested this morning.

“In the wake of Russia’s unjust and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, I promised the American people that the Justice Department would work to hold accountable those who break our laws and threaten our national security. Today’s charges demonstrate we are keeping that promise,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “The Justice Department will not stop working to identify, find, and bring to justice those who evade U.S. sanctions in order to enable the Russian regime.”

“As today’s charges reveal, while serving the Russian state and energy sector, Oleg Deripaska sought to circumvent U.S. sanctions through lies and deceit to cash in on and benefit from the American way of life,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. “But shell companies and webs of lies will not shield Deripaska and his cronies from American law enforcement, nor will they protect others who support the Putin regime. The Department of Justice remains dedicated to the global fight against those who aid and abet the Russian war machine.”

According to court documents, Deripaska, the owner and controller of Basic Element, a private investment and management company for Deripaska’s various business interests, was subjected to economic sanctions on April 6, 2018. On that day, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Deripaska as a Specially Designated National (SDN), in connection with its finding that the actions of the Government of the Russian Federation with respect to Ukraine constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States (the OFAC Sanctions). In designating Deripaska, OFAC explained that Deripaska was sanctioned for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, a senior official of the Government of the Russian Federation, as well as for operating in the energy sector of the Russian Federation economy.

“Today’s indictment reflects the FBI’s commitment to use all of the tools at our disposal to aggressively pursue those who attempt to evade the United States’ economic countermeasures against the Russian government,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “We will continue to aggressively prosecute those who violate measures imposed to protect the national security and foreign policy of the United States, especially in this time of Russia’s unprovoked aggression toward Ukraine.”

“The indictment unsealed today signals the United States’ ongoing support for the people of Ukraine in the face of continued Russian belligerence,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York. “The enforcement of sanctions is a vital tool wielded by this Office and our law enforcement partners as we seek to deter Russian aggression, and today’s indictment should be taken as a warning that, try as they might, individuals violating these sanctions will be held accountable.” 

Following his designation by OFAC, Deripaska conspired with others to evade and to violate those sanctions in various ways and over the course of several years. Deripaska, through the corporate entity Gracetown Inc., illegally utilized the U.S. financial system to maintain and retain three luxury properties in the United States (the U.S. Properties), and further employed Olga Shriki and Natalia Mikhaylovna Bardakova to utilize U.S. financial institutions to provide hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of services for his benefit in the United States. For example, in or about 2019, Shriki facilitated for Deripaska’s benefit the sale of a music studio in California for over $3 million. Deripaska had owned the studio through a series of corporate shell companies that obscured his actual ownership. Following the sale of the studio, Shriki attempted to expatriate over $3 million in proceeds through one such shell company, Ocean Studios California LLC, to a Russia-based account belonging to another Deripaska company.

Bardakova – largely based in Russia – directed Shriki to engage in particular illegal transactions on Deripaska’s behalf. These instructions included directing Shriki to obtain U.S. goods and technology for Deripaska. Moreover, between in or about May 2018 and in or about 2020, Bardakova instructed Shriki to purchase and send flower and gift deliveries on behalf of Deripaska to Deripaska’s social contacts in the United States and Canada. The deliveries included, among others, Easter gift deliveries to a U.S. television host, two flower deliveries to a then-former Canadian Parliament member, and two flower deliveries in 2020 to Voronina while she was in the United States in 2020 to give birth to Deripaska’s child.      

Then, in or about 2020, Shriki and Bardakova helped Deripaska’s girlfriend, Voronina, travel from Russia to the United States, so she could give birth to Deripaska’s and Voronina’s child in the United States. Despite Deripaska’s ongoing support for the Russian regime, he funded hundreds of thousands of dollars of transactions so that his child would take advantage of the U.S. health care system and U.S. birthright citizenship. Despite Deripaska’s ongoing support for the Russian regime, Deripaska distrusted the safety of the Russian hospital system. As alleged, Shriki orchestrated the payment of approximately $300,000 worth of U.S. medical care, housing, childcare, and other logistics to support Voronina to give birth in the United States, which resulted in the child receiving U.S. citizenship. As part of this scheme, Deripaska counseled Voronina on obtaining a U.S. visa, including by telling her to be “careful” ahead of an interview by U.S. immigration authorities. Voronina thereafter applied for and obtained a U.S. visa for a purported 10-day tourism visit without disclosing her intent to travel and stay in the United States for approximately six months to give birth to Deripaska’s child. Following the birth, Shriki, Bardakova, and Voronina conspired to conceal the name of the child’s true father, Deripaska, going so far as to change, slightly, the spelling of the child’s last name.

Later, in or about 2022, Shriki and Bardakova attempted to facilitate Voronina’s return to the United States to give birth to Deripaska’s and Voronina’s second child. This second attempt included Bardakova and Voronina’s attempt to use false statements to conceal Deripaska’s funding and secure Voronina’s entry into the United States – an attempt that was thwarted, and Voronina was denied entry and returned immediately to Istanbul, through which she had flown from Russia to the United States.

Deripaska, Bardakova and Shriki, are charged with one count of conspiring to violate and evade U.S. sanctions, in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Shriki is further charged in one count of destruction of records, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Bardakova and Voronina are each further charged with one count of making false statements to federal agents, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. The indictment also provides notice of the United States’ intention to forfeit from Deripaska the proceeds of his offense, including the U.S. Properties and the proceeds from the sale of the music studio. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The FBI New York Field Office and Counterintelligence Division are investigating the case, with valuable assistance provided by the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department’s National Security Division, Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anden Chow and Vladislav Vainberg are prosecuting the case.

On March 2, 2022, the Attorney General announced the launch of Task Force KleptoCapture, an interagency law enforcement task force dedicated to enforcing the sweeping sanctions, export restrictions, and economic countermeasures that the United States has imposed, along with allies and partners, in response to Russia’s unprovoked military invasion of Ukraine. The task force will leverage all the Department’s tools and authorities against efforts to evade or undermine the economic actions taken by the U.S. government in response to Russian military aggression.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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Ex-FBI who probed Trump-Russia links has ties to Moscow: Report


Published: 17:32 BST, 15 September 2022 | Updated: 18:03 BST, 15 September 2022

A senior FBI official who investigated Donald Trump‘s alleged links to Russia is now under the microscope for his own Moscow ties, a bombshell new report revealed on Thursday.

Charles McGonigal is the former counterintelligence chief at the FBI’s New York City field office.

He has not been charged with any crimes, Insider reports. 

But if McGonigal’s work with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska proves to have violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act, he could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine at most.

Deripaska, a close ally of Vladimir Putin’s, was also a close contact of Trump 2016 campaign chair Paul Manafort and is thought to have played a leading role in the Kremlin’s efforts to interfere in that presidential race.

He and business tied to him were sanctioned by the Treasury Department for ‘malign activity’ and ‘attempting to subvert western democracies, and malicious cyber-activities.’

McGonigal’s links to Deripaska are reportedly at the heart of a grand jury subpoena that was issued in secret in November 2021.

It’s not clear if the investigation is still ongoing.

But the explosive Thursday report suggests McGonigal has had multiple contacts with an aide to Deripaska, including a referral to a law firm that ended up being a lucrative deal for a former Soviet official.

Charles McGonigal has been Special Agent in Charge of the Counterintelligence Division for the New York Field Office of the FBI since he was appointed to that position by James Comey in October 2016

That former official is Sergey Shestakov, who now lives in the US but is said to be the ex-chief of staff to the Soviet Union’s ambassador.

Shestakov reportedly disclosed in a filing that McGonigal was key to helping him ‘facilitate’ a meeting between Deripaska’s aide and a shady consulting company called Spectrum Risk Solutions.

McGonigal also introduced the Kremlin-linked billionaire’s assistant to a New York law firm that’s known for helping clients accused of ‘fraud and misconduct’ called Kobre & Kim.

It’s not clear what role Shestakov played in the referral but he claimed to have received $33,000 for it.

It’s also not clear if McGonigal’s work with Deripaska breaks any laws, though longtime intelligence community journalist Tim Weiner told Insider, ‘If McGonigal is mixed up in any way shape or form with Deripaska, that strikes me as unseemly, to put it politely.’

McGonigal had a hand in the early stages of the Trump-Russia investigation that became Crossfire Hurricane 

McGonigal is reportedly linked to Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who is a close ally of Vladimir Putin (pictured)

McGonigal didn’t respond to Insider’s request for comment, while Kobre & Kim refused to provide a statement.

A senior FBI official suggested to the outlet that McGonigal’s probing by a grand jury is in itself extraordinary.

‘It’s very rare that former FBI people at all, and certainly former senior FBI people, wind up as grand-jury targets,’ they said.

McGonigal’s lengthy FBI resumé includes investigating Wikileaks and Chelsea Manning, as well as probing a Bill Clinton advisor for improper handling of classified National Archives records.

He was reportedly one of the first federal law enforcement officers to find out that a Trump 2016 campaign staffer bragged about Russians having damaging information on Hillary Clinton, which sparked the infamous Trump-Russia probe known as Crossfire Hurricane.

At the time, McGonigal headed the cybercrimes division at the FBI’s Washington HQ. 

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Charles McGonigal

McGonigal joined the FBI in 1996. His first assignment was New York City, where he worked Russian foreign counterintelligence and organized crime matters. During his tenure in New York, McGonigal worked on the TWA Flight 800 investigation, was assigned to the task force investigating Wen Ho Lee, investigated the 1998 terrorist bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, and investigated the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. Interesting/controversial list of investigations.

He was also assigned to Cleveland, Washington field office, HQs, and Baltimore. He was moved to FBI HQ to stand up a Cyber-Counterintelligence Coordination Section working in Bill Priesap’s area who headed the Counterintelligence area at HQ. McGonigal worked Counterintelligence and Cyber threats, specifically working and managing Espionage, Economic Espionage and Insider Threat investigations. In other words, McGonigal would have understood exactly what happened to the DNC server. When DNC claimed Russia had hacked the email system of the Democratic National Committee, McGonigal was serving as chief of the cybercrimes section at FBI headquarters in Washington. As a cyber expert he would have known a hack could not have extracted the data at the rate at which it was downloaded.

Interestingly, in 2010, McGonigal was in charge of the WikiLeaks Task Force at HQ FBI, the task force  identified Pfc. Bradley Manning as the leaker. Manning was later convicted for espionage related violations and pardoned by Obama. If you’re following along, McGonigal can find Manning but not the breach in the DNC? Or the foreign interference in the 2020 election?

By Jun 2016 he was transferred to the NYC field office and appears in a video forum: Foreign Influence Ops and Counterintelligence.

McGonigal, along with William Evanina (who is a career FBI and CIA guy (ODNI worked for Coates, NCSC)). McGonigal leads off the forum with the announcement that Director Comey had just been fired by Trump. He refers to Comey as “most loved leader” of FBI. He goes on to discuss how he works with foreign governments all over the globe. He says there are 150 agents focused on counter intelligence. One interesting comment was him saying resources are allocated based on threat. While that may sound benign to non government folks, inside the government it is well known that the threat is often embellished to increase the amount of resources available. The threat of white supremacy is a good example. He defines espionage as access to classified and sharing it w/o authority. He goes on to say that the FBI has sole jurisdiction in these matters.

William Evanina describes his duties as driving policy and interfacing with the White House and Congress; chairs NATO panel; 5 I’s panel chair once a month. He briefly talks about how often, early in his career, he heard about Russian propaganda; but that it had been driven home for him when they interfered in the 2016 election. “We know for a fact they did.” When someone asked if because Russia was involved in the 2016 election should we go back to paper voting, his response: there was quite a bit of spin in the media. He said emphatically that it was a fact “no voting machine was hacked during 2016 election.”

Evanina said there was an assessment of voting machines and that no voting machine hacked. He went further, stating even if someone wanted to hack a machine, the precincts were not connected to each other or the internet. He then makes the point that someone couldn’t get to all the machines; which we know makes little difference if you know what precincts makes the most impact. Then he falsely claims each state has different systems so no one could effectively hack them all.

McGonigal tells the audience “We don’t just run out and open investigations into someone without the appropriate predication.”  “We have all kinds of legal review processes” While this is technically correct, the real question is do they use the legal review processes? We know they do not use them every time; when they do use them they are not always truthful; and, in general, the fact that they have them means nothing.

With all of this as background material, we recently found out McGonigal was the subject of a grand jury. US attorneys secretly convened a grand jury that examined his conduct while assigned to the FBI field office in New York City (his last assignment). Specifically “McGonigal’s business dealings with a top aide to Oleg Deripaska, the billionaire Russian oligarch who was at the center of allegations that Russia colluded with the Trump campaign to interfere in the 2016 election.”

According to Business Insider “The subpoena, issued in November, requests records relating to McGonigal and a shadowy consulting firm called Spectrum Risk Solutions. A week after the subpoena was issued, a Soviet-born immigrant named Sergey Shestakov said in a separate filing that McGonigal had helped him “facilitate” an introduction between Spectrum and Deripaska’s aide. The filing also states that McGonigal helped introduce the aide to Kobre & Kim, a New York law firm that specializes in representing clients who are being investigated on suspicion of “fraud and misconduct.” Shestakov, who has been identified on TV panels as a former Soviet foreign ministry official and former chief of staff to the Soviet ambassador to the United Nations, reported receiving $33,000 for the referrals.”

McGonigal is not registered as a foreign agent. Therefore any work done on behalf of foreigners is a crime and punishable by the Foreign Agents Registration Act and carries a $250,000 fine and up to five years in prison. It just so happens Deripaska was found guilty by the Treasury Department in 2018 for acting as an agent for the Kremlin. The leaked grand jury document covers Apr 1, 2017 to present.

Business Insider states “According to the witness subpoena, prosecutors are also looking into whether McGonigal has ties to the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as any “payments or gifts” he was provided by the governments of Kosovo, Montenegro, and Albania.”

McGonigal has appeared at several forums, panels, and interviews to discuss counterintelligence. In 2020, after his alleged assistance to Deripaska’s aide, he appeared on a panel at the Atlantic Council, where he discussed the corruption of Russia’s security services. “You are seeing an erosion in any rule of law as it relates to the FSB,” he said. “It would be akin to having in the United States the FBI as a rogue element, operating at the behest of the highest bidder.” (You just can’t make this up)

“McGonigal’s profile on LinkedIn says he is the senior vice president of “global security and life safety” at Brookfield Properties, a multibillion-dollar real-estate company in New York. But that information, apparently, is inaccurate. “Charlie McGonigal is no longer with Brookfield,” Andrew Brent, Brookfield’s head of communications, told Insider. McGonigal left the company, he added, in early January — just as witnesses were scheduled to appear before the grand jury.”

During an interview with a Brazilian reporter in Jun 2018, Charles McGonigal tells the Brazilian reporter “Anything on line has inherent risk” when discussing electronic voting systems.” He goes on to say the “FBI doesn’t want to infringe on anyone’s rights”. He tells the reporter there are so many levels of scrutiny internal to the FBI, referring to individuals rights during investigations, that there is no way anyone’s rights are violated. He said the FBI is always mindful of the legal process.


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Top FBI Agent Tied to Russia — and that’s not all

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from SCFrog.

As the piece says, Charles McGonigal, former counterintelligence head in the New York City office of the FBI, is now being investigated for his own ties to Oleg Deripaska, one of Putin’s favorite industrialists.  This story has many, many ramifications. 

First a bit of background: back in 2019 Deripaska made a deal with Addison (his real name) McConnell to lift sanctions in exchange for building an aluminum mill in Kentucky.  At the time skeptics figured this boost to McConnell’s fortunes would last until a few months after the 2020 election, and indeed in early 2021 financing for the mill “unexpectedly” fell through.  Imagine that.

Second, the NYC office of the FBI was notably lax in investigating trump’s many cons and ties to Russia.  Later Michael Sussman, who brought news of questionable ties between a Russian bank and the trump campaign, was himself persecuted by William Barr’s hatchet man, John Durham — whose work went nowhere.  Now we might understand why the New York office took it easy: the chief investigator could himself have been in the tank for trump’s handlers.

Third, we also know the New York FBI office hated Hillary Clinton.  We know they leaked an ongoing investigation into Anthony Weiner’s laptop to Rudy Giuliani, we know they leaked to Devin Nunes, and we know they were aware the leaks could affect the election.  One might speculate the hatred could have been ginned up by a rogue agent in the office, perhaps someone beholden to a foreign power which saw an advantage in having their creature in the White House.

In other words, with today’s news it is entirely possible that senior FBI agent Charles McGonigal, in a breathtaking act of treachery which makes Robert Hanssen’s twenty years of spying for the KGB look like small potatoes, knowingly helped Russia elect donald trump.

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Top FBI Agent Tied to Russia — and that’s not all


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Top FBI Agent Tied to Russia — and that’s not all


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Retired Top FBI Counterintelligence Official Worked With Ex Russian Intelligence Officer Close to Deripaska, Foreign Agent Paperwork Reveals


A former senior Soviet Foreign Ministry official in the U.S. filed as a Foreign Agent for a top aide to Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who has been described by the U.S. Senate as a key figure in the Kremlin’s malign influence operations. 

The paperwork filed under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) has raised numerous concerns from experts who have noted that the aide, Yevgenyi (Evgeny, Evgeniy) Fokin, has reportedly been flagged by the FBI as a former senior Russian intelligence official. 

In addition, the filing raises questions about the involvement of a former senior FBI counterintelligence official who reportedly connected Fokin to a law firm and business intelligence consultants.

The FARA filing was first publicly spotted by Wendy Siegelman, an independent investigative journalist. 

Forensic News believes in transparency in the journalism process. Go behind-the-scenes to see how this story was created with the Stone video bibliography:

The Foreign Agent filing

On Nov. 29, 2021, Sergey Shestakov, the former Soviet diplomat, registered as a Foreign Agent for Fokin, the alleged former senior Russian intelligence official. 

Though the filing is scarce on details, Shestakov stated that he enlisted Charles F. McGonigal, the FBI’s former top counterintelligence official in New York, to connect Fokin to the law firm Kobre & Kim as well as “business intelligence consultants” Spectrum Risk Solutions.

Mr. Fokin has contacted me seeking professional assistance in the US, which have resulted in the retention of the law firm of Kobre & Kim and later and separately the business intelligence consultants Spectrum Risk Solutions,” Shestakov stated. “I acted in hope that my assistance would result in a facilitation fee from the US entities retained, and I have received such fees.”

In an amendment filed two days after this article, Shestakov stated that he did not receive funds from Fokin, but rather got paid by Kobre & Kim and the “investigative firm,” Spectrum Risk Solutions.

I received no monies from the foreign principal. However, on 11/27/19 I received a one-time payment of $25,000 from the law firm and on 10/18/21 I received a payment of $8,000 from the investigative firm, both referred to in the original filing,” Shestakov said. He also stated that his “activities on behalf of” Fokin have ceased.

Network diagram of the connections of those involved in the FARA filing.

Network diagram of the connections of those involved in the FARA filing.

Fokin now acts as the director of international cooperation for En+ Group, an energy conglomerate founded by Oleg Deripaska. A 2019 deal to remove En+ Group from U.S. sanctions stipulated that Deripaska must reduce his holdings in the group to under 50%, though he reportedly transferred some shares to family members and another group under his control.

In October, the FBI raided residences in Washington, D.C. and New York owned by people close to Deripaska in an unspecified criminal investigation. Information about what prompted the dramatic hours-long raids remains unclear. 

Shestakov reported that the activity involving Fokin and McGonigal began over two-and-a-half years ago. FARA laws mandate that Foreign Agents, “must file a registration statement within 10 days of having agreed to act as an agent of a foreign principal.

Anna Massoglia, a researcher at the Center for Responsive Politics and an expert on FARA, told Forensic News that the timing of the filing is notable, given the recent law enforcement activity at the Deripaska-connected houses.

The timing of the filing is certainly noteworthy since it comes so long after the activities reportedly took place and so shortly after the FBI searched property linked to Deripaska,” she said.

Massoglia also stated that “the descriptions of the Deripaska ‘presumably’ supervising, directing, and controlling [En+] are particularly striking.” “This provides some corroboration for reports that Deripaska has retained significant influence over the companies’ operations,” despite the U.S. sanctions, Massoglia said. 

Excerpt from the FARA filing

Excerpt from the FARA filing

Shestakov acted with the assistance of McGonigal, he reported, in connecting Fokin with Spectrum Risk Solutions, a business intelligence firm, and Kobre & Kim, a law firm.

In a statement to Forensic News, however, a Kobre & Kim spokesperson said that the firm “conducted no work covered by FARA for Yevgenyi Fokin or En+.” The spokesperson did not elaborate on why Kobre & Kim appeared on the FARA paperwork. Legal work can be exempt under FARA, according to Massoglia. 

The only company Forensic News was able to identify by the name “Spectrum Risk Solutions” in the U.S. was incorporated in Delaware in 2018, according to OpenCorporates. Forensic News acquired the single document filed for Spectrum Risk Solutions in the corporate-secrecy haven of Delaware, but it did not give any indication of who is behind the company or what work it does. 

Background on Fokin, Shestakov, and McGonigal

The Russian diplomat

Forensic News used a combination of corporate documents, property deeds, open-source research, and interviews with people familiar with the situation to confirm that the Shestakov in the FARA filing is the former Soviet diplomat.

The property records for Shestakov’s residence in Connecticut listed on the FARA documents show that the United Nations issued his mortgages, a rare benefit that only those with a direct relationship with the UN enjoy. 

Property records for Shestakov's residence

Property records for Shestakov’s residence showing UN mortgage

A background check on Shestakov revealed that he used at least two email addresses connected to the Russian-language networks RTVI and Media-Most and he appears on the corporate documents for companies related to the media groups. 

That background information largely confirms a 2010 interview in which Shestakov is introduced as “a former Soviet Foreign Ministry official…and Vice President of the global Russian television network RTVI.” A second interview describes him as the Chief of Staff to former Soviet Ambassador to the UN, Alexander Belonogov. That account is corroborated by author Sharon Leontine Wallenberg. 

Yana Agoureev, a relative of Shestakov’s who appears on the property deed for the Connecticut residence is a Russian interpreter who has acted on behalf of multiple high-profile Russian criminals. Her client list included Evgeny Buryakov, an SVR official convicted of espionage in New York, and Alexander Zhukov, a self-described “king of fraud.” 

On Facebook, Agoureev is friends with Anatoli Samochornov, an interpreter who was present at the 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump Jr, Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, and other Russians who promised “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. 

Shestakov did not respond to a detailed list of questions regarding the FARA paperwork and the persons involved. 

The alleged former Russian intelligence officer

The foreign principal for whom Shestakov acted as an agent, Yevgenyi Fokin, is considered one of just a handful of individuals in Oleg Deripaska’s inner circle.

The Telegraph reported in 2018 that, “FBI officers identified Evgeny Fokin, who is the company’s Director of International Cooperation, as formerly being the SVR’s declared liaison officer with U.S. intelligence agencies in Washington DC in the mid-1990s.” 

An Intelligence Online report added more details, stating that Deripaska “discreetly” turned to Fokin to help remove sanctions against En+. “Fokin, a former high-ranking officer with the SVR, is a keen strategist who knows the US authorities well, having been stationed in San Francisco and Washington several times between 1989 and 1995,” Intelligence Online reported. That timeline indicates that Fokin and Shestakov concurrently held high-level Soviet political positions. 

Fokin has denied that he was previously employed by Russia’s foreign intelligence service, the SVR, but he did not respond to a detailed list of questions sent by Forensic News

The 2019 activity described by Shestakov came as the Senate investigated Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. In that investigation, Fokin became a subject of interest because of his proximity to Deripaska and others suspected of interfering in the election, according to two sources familiar with the probe. 

In 2016, Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort met multiple times with a suspected Russian intelligence agent close to Deripaska and, along with campaign co-chair Rick Gates, shared internal, detailed polling information regarding the campaign. Five years later, the U.S. Treasury Department said that the “sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy” was passed to Russia’s intelligence services.

The former senior FBI official

According to the FARA filing, Shestakov turned to Charles F. McGonigal, a former senior FBI official who left the Bureau just months prior to the filing. McGonigal became the Special Agent in Charge of Counterintelligence for the New York Office in 2016 and left in the fall of 2018, just months before he allegedly helped connect Fokin with the law firm and the opaque Spectrum Risk Solutions.

McGonigal spent 22 years with the FBI according to an official biography after starting his career investigating Russian counterintelligence matters. He led numerous high-profile cases for the FBI, including insider-espionage investigations and the 2010 criminal probe of WikiLeaks. 

Shestakov stated that Fokin corresponded with him “on behalf of himself and/or his company” but the information filed by Shestakov did not stipulate whether McGonigal assisted Fokin on behalf of En+ or in a personal capacity.

McGonigal did not respond to messages seeking comment about his alleged work with Shestakov and Fokin.

The confluence of Shestakov, the former Soviet diplomat, Fokin, the alleged former senior SVR operative, and McGonigal, the former high-ranking FBI official working together sheds new light on the activities of those close to Deripaska at a time when multiple investigators were scrutinizing the malign activities of the Putin-ally. 

The FBI investigation that resulted in the search warrants conducted at houses connected to Deripaska remains active. 

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Ukraine Says Russia Planning Massive Cyberattacks on its Critical Infrastructures – The Hacker News

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Türkiye appoints ambassador to Israel

Türkiye has designated Şakir Özkan Torunlar as ambassador to Israel by a presidential decree signed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.