A former KGB chief suspected of helping British spy Christopher Steele compile his lurid dossier on President Donald Trump was found dead late last month in the back of his car in Moscow.
The Dec. 26 death of Oleg Erovinkin set off a firestorm of speculation this weekend in local media and British tabloids about possible Kremlin involvement and a cover-up.
At the time of Erovinkin’s death, the Russian state-run RIA Novosti news agency said his body was found in a black Lexus and that a major investigation was underway, according to the Daily Mail.
His body was sent to the morgue, which returned no cause of death, and the investigation continues.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Kansas City Star
Erovinkin was a key aide to Igor Sechin, a former deputy prime minister and now head of Rosneft, the state-owned oil company, according to The Telegraph. Erovinkin has been described as a key liaison between Sechin and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The dossier, which became public last month, claimed the Russian government had compromising personal and financial information about Trump, the most lurid allegation involving Trump and prostitutes in Russia.
Trump dismissed the dossier as “fake news,” and no evidence has emerged to support it.
Meanwhile, Trump on Saturday had his first phone call with Putin since taking office.
Officials say the thorny matter of U.S.-imposed sanctions on Russia didn’t come up, which suggests that the more difficult obstacles to warmer relations between their nations can wait.
Statements from the White House and the Kremlin described the conversation Saturday in positive terms, the same tone used in White House accounts of other calls Trump made to world leaders. Only later did a White House official, responding to a question, acknowledge that sanctions were not among the topics the two leaders discussed.