Joseph Mifsud, the mysterious professor who vanished from the public eye late last year after his name surfaced in stories about the Russia investigation, is “being kept quiet by shadowy, unidentified spy agencies,” his lawyer Stephan Roh suggested to the Associated Press in a recent interview.
What’s more, the mysterious Maltese professor has a history of disappearing for long periods of time, an AP investigation found.
Last month, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) said in a court filing that the 58-year-old may be dead, but reports of his demise may have been exaggerated.
Mifsud vanished from the public eye late last year after his name surfaced in stories about the Russia investigation. He is the shady character who told former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos that Russia had “thousands of emails” on Hillary Clinton during a meeting in London in April 2016.
Mifsud has dropped out of sight on least three other occasions when he was caught up in scandals, the AP discovered.
“Joseph has the habit of disappearing,” said Abdelhamid El-Zoheiry, one of Mifsud’s successors at the Euro-Mediterranean University in Slovenia. According to the AP, Mifsud “had a troubled tenure as president from 2008 to 2012.”
One of Mifsud’s disappearing tricks took place at the Euro-Mediterranean University, which Mifsud abruptly left in 2012 without repaying 30,000 euros (worth $39,900 at the time) of expenses. He became totally unreachable — letters sent to addresses for him in London, Malta and Rome went unanswered, according to university board minutes obtained by the AP. A critical Slovenia government report published in 2013 criticized his management at the university for its lack of transparency and said his tenure had left the institution with “no reputation, either at home or abroad.”
Mifsud had disappeared before, in 2006, when administrators at the University of Malta discovered irregularities in the European Unit that he managed, according to two ex-colleagues who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential university business.
Letters from an auditor brought in to investigate the situation went unanswered and Mifsud didn’t return to his job after a year’s leave. Eventually, the university lost patience with the missing academic and wrote to him on Nov. 15, 2007, threatening to terminate his post.
The following month Mifsud responded — but just to tell the university he was quitting.
Mifsud went missing once more in Italy, where in 2017 two separate police forces failed to find him in relation to yet another university funding scandal. A court in the Sicilian port city of Palermo last month ordered him to hand back more than 49,000 euros ($56,700) in overpayments and gave his address as “unknown residence.”
The AP seemed to have trouble finding anyone, other than Mifsud’s lawyer, willing to speak on his behalf, including his wife, who has filed for divorce, according to court records.
A former student in Malta, Matthew Caruana Galizia, said Mifsud came off as “a complete charlatan” when he was lecturing. A former deputy of Mifsud’s at the University of Malta, Joseph Grech, called him a “hawwadi,” a Maltese word meaning “intriguer.”
Mifsud’s lawyer, Stephan Roh, disputed the allegations made by Mifsud’s former colleagues and students, describing them as either old, unsubstantiated or what he called “defamatory departing music.”
“You forget about many positive things about Prof Mifsud,” Roh told the AP in an email. “My suspicion is that this may be on purpose.”
To assure the AP that the AWOL academic is still alive, Roh’s office sent the news agency a “proof of life” photo of Mifsud with a Swiss newspaper dated May 17, 2018. An analysis of the letter indicated that it was taken “with an iPhone at Roh’s office in the Swiss city of Zurich on May 21.”
Roh, however, would not let the AP publish the picture.
Mifsud reportedly also surfaced briefly at a conference in Washington, D.C., in February 2017, and at the time told the FBI that he never said anything to Papadopoulos about Clinton’s emails, that he didn’t even know about the emails, and that he wasn’t a Russian operative.
Yet in their April report on Russian interference in the election, Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee described Mifsud as “Kremlin-linked.”
The AP investigation doesn’t answer the question of whom Mifsud was working for when he allegedly gave the Clinton email tip to Papadopoulos, but recent reports strongly suggest he was working for Western intelligence.
According to Fox News, the professor also “had Western ties at academic institutions like the Link Campus University in Rome, the University of Stirling in Scotland, the London Academy of Diplomacy and the London Center for International Law Practice.”
“The most fishy parts of the story are: Is Mifsud really a Russian agent?” former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy mused on “Fox and Friends” back in June.
Investigative journalist Lee Smith reported at RealClearInvestigations that there is no evidence to support the claim that Mifsud is/was a Russian spy. “Although Mifsud has traveled many times to Russia and has contacts with Russian academics, his closest public ties are to Western governments, politicians, and institutions, including the CIA, FBI and British intelligence services,” he wrote.
Papadopoulos tweeted on Monday that Mifsud’s lawyer suggested that the professor was a “western intelligence agent” following the orders of “western intelligence spies.”
When Papadopoulos was tapped to be on the Trump team in 2016, he was working for an organization called the London Center for International Law Practice, which he has since discovered is a “shady front group for Western intelligence. ”
In an interview with Fox News’ Jesse Watters over the weekend, G-Pap said the organization sent him to Link Campus University in Rome, which he now believes is “a training school for Western spies.”
It was there that Papadopoulos said he was introduced to Joseph Mifsud, who introduced him to “decoys” like a woman who claimed to be Putin’s niece but was actually just a Russian student at the university. About a month after that, while in London, Papadopoulos said Mifsud “dropped the bomb” about Russia having thousands of Clinton’s emails.
He told Watters that he had no recollection of telling anyone in the Trump campaign about the emails, but he did gossip about it with the Greek foreign minister. He said he has no memory of discussing Clinton’s emails with Australian diplomat Alexander Downer during a meeting that he now believes was set up for that purpose. G-Pap said that the meeting was “very weird” and that he told the FBI that he thought Downer had recorded the conversation.
Papadopoulos said he was lured back to London another time by alleged CIA/MI6 asset professor Stefan Halper so he could be surveilled by Western spies.
Summing up, he told Watters that he was “set up by Western intelligence” in an effort to “sabotage the Trump campaign through me.”