MSNBC's Rachel Maddow connects the dots between Russians trying to shut down Mueller investigations
MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow (screengrab)

MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow on Monday revealed the bizarre link between a "lurid" murder-for-hire case in North Carolina and apparent Russian efforts to undermine the investigations into Donald Trump by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Maddow recounted the tale of Leonid Teyf, whom federal prosecutors allege plotted to kill the son of a former housekeeper because he suspected the man was having an affair with his wife.

As part of the investigation, prosecutors uncovered a $150 million kickback scheme that was allegedly defrauding the Russian Federation.

"The money-laundering scheme dates back to around 2010, during Teyf's time as deputy director of a company called Voentorg that provided Russia's military with laundry, food and other equipment, according to a federal indictment," NBC News reported in December. "Voentorg, in turn, sought goods from subcontractors and Teyf demanded a cut of government funds they were paid — kickbacks that grew to $150 million in cash over a two-year period, prosecutors said."

Maddow focused on the $150 million, which was only Teyf's alleged cut of the kickback scheme.

"It's interesting though, this is a U.S. criminal case. All of that money was allegedly stolen from Russian defense contracts, but the government in Russia apparently does not much seem to mind," she noted.

"They have not been pursuing this guy for this, it's U.S. prosecutors who are pursuing him and it's U.S. prosecutors who are saying he did it and that -- that may be an important clue as to what's really going on here and the overall importance of this case," Maddow explained.

"On its face, this is a riveting, lurid crime story which has been a real focus for local news in North Carolina for weeks now, for all sorts of obvious reasons," she explained. "The condo with no furniture in it -- stashed full of guns and ammo and money -- and the hitman and bribe for the deportation and the hiding of the gun with the obliterated serial number under a bush at the car wash and the mansion and expensive cars."

Maddow explained Yevgeny Prigozhin's connection to the case -- and the alleged fraud. Prigozhin is known as "Putin's Chef" for the oligarch's closeness to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Then Maddow brought it all together by explaining the connection of Prigozhin's efforts to undermine the special counsel investigations.