A former FBI agent and Brookfield Properties executive has been charged with violating U.S. sanctions against Russia as well as money laundering. Charles McGonigal briefly worked as a Brookfield senior VP for global security and life safety, and he was recently arrested and charged, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. McGonigal has pleaded not guilty.
McGonigal stepped down as a special agent in the FBI counterintelligence agency in 2018. He’s charged alongside Sergey Shestakov, a former Russian diplomat who became a Russian interpreter for courts and government offices after obtaining U.S. citizenship. It’s alleged that McGonigal and Shestakov provided services to Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch who founded one of Russia’s largest industrial groups and was sanctioned by the U.S. for alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election.
McGonigal left the FBI in September 2018 to work for Brookfield, where he worked in New York until leaving the firm in January 2022. While McGonigal was at Brookfield in 2021, he allegedly conspired to provide services to the Russian oligarch and agreed to investigate a rival oligarch in exchange for secret payments. The charges against McGonigal and his partner carry a maximum sentence of 20 years each. The charges are undoubtedly bad press for Brookfield, though it looks like a case more so of a bad apple at the company. It also shows that U.S. officials are still very much cracking down on Russian sanctions violations that have ratcheted up since the war in Ukraine began, and a sizeable portion of these investigations have targeted the real estate industry.