Mystery Maltese professor investigated by FBI still missing

Woman claims Joseph Mifsud disappeared after fathering her child

Joseph Mifsud

More details have emerged about Joseph Mifsud, the enigmatic Maltese academic at the centre of the criminal investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Donald Trump campaign.

The man dubbed as “the Mystery Professor” by the international press has “gone to ground” after having been identified as a key figure in the FBI investigation into Russian influence over the 2016 US presidential election.

According to a BuzzFeed report, Mifsud is still off the radar with a Ukrainian woman who he proposed to saying she hasn’t heard from him since news on his links to Russia broke in October 2017.

“His biography disappeared from one university where he taught and he quit his job at another university. His email and cell phones went dead. And politicians, colleagues, and journalists can’t find him,” BuzzFeed reported.

The report adds that Anna, his 31-year-old Ukrainian fiancé, who says he is the father of her newborn child was seven months pregnant and engaged to Mifsud when he became the focus of world media attention as the professor who told the Trump campaign that Russia had “dirt” on Clinton.

The woman said she has not heard from Mifsud despite giving birth to what she says is the professor’s child in January.

Mifsud’s name emerged in the charges against President Donald Trump’s former aide, George Papadopoulos, who claimed that the Maltese academic and former diplomat told him in 2014 that the Russians were in possession of “compromising material” regarding presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Mifsud, who heads the international relations department at Rome’s Link University, rejected these claims insisting that while Papadopoulos is a friend of his, Trump’s former aide is “lying”.

Papadopoulos told investigators that Mifsud had informed him that he had “substantial connections to Russian government officials” and promised “dirt” on Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails” obtained by the Russian government.

But Mifsud denied having any links to the Kremlin. In an interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Mifsud said “I don’t know anything. I absolutely exclude talking about secrets regarding Hillary. I swear on my daughter. I don’t know anyone at the Kremlin, the only Russian I know is Ivan Timofeev, the director of a Moscow based think-tank (the Russian International Affairs Council).”

However, his Ukrainian fiancé told BuzzFeed that he often boasted about his friendship with Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.

“He said, ‘I have dinner with Lavrov tonight. Lavrov is my friend. Lavrov this, Lavrov that,’” Anna told BuzzFeed, adding that he also showed her a photo of himself with Lavrov.

This is only another twist in a series of bizarre statements by Mifsud who had denied knowing anybody from the Russian government, insisting that he was only an academic.

Mifsud thoroughly deserves the ‘Mystery Professor’ monicker as his present whereabouts are as shady as his past.

While it is unknown how he acquired a professorship, with the University of Malta denying it awarded him such a title, Mifsud was investigated by the same university over alleged financial irregularities. However, Mifsud resigned from his university post before his employment was terminated.

Mifsud has also been accused of financial irregularities by a the Euro-Mediterranean University in Slovenia where he shortly served as rector.

Rebecca Vincent Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Without Borders witness proceedings in 24 libel cases against Daphne Caruana Galizia

Daphne Caruana Galizia

The new shock doctrine