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Lawyer: Missing Joseph Mifsud Is Not Dead, He's 'Being Kept Quiet by Shadowy, Unidentified Spy Agencies'

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.