Joseph Mifsud

Joseph Mifsud, born in Malta in 1960 is a Maltese academic, with reportedly high level connections to the Russian government. In 2016 he became involved with George Papadopoulos, an advisor to the Donald Trump presidential campaign, and was later accused of being a link between that campaign and Russia. In 2018 he was reported as missing.

In a 2017 interview he claimed to be a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR),, although the ECFR website in 2018 did not list him as a member. He regularly attended meetings of the Valdai Discussion Club, an annual conference held in Sochi, Russia, backed by the Kremlin and attended by Vladimir Putin. According to a BBC report, Mifsud was in Moscow in April 2016 to speak on a panel run by the Valdai Club. Another of the speakers was Ivan Timofeev, who works for a think tank close to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mifsud then introduced Papadopoulos to Timofeev via email.  Mifsud reportedly claimed to his former girlfriend that he was friends with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. Mifsud himself denied having any contact with the Russian government, saying “I am an academic, I do not even speak Russian.”

From 2006 to 2008 he served as the chef de cabinet of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malta. He later became a principal in the London Centre of International Law Practice. In 2008 he was named President of the Euro-Mediterranean University of Slovenia (EMUNI).He was a professorial teaching fellow at the University of Stirling in Scotland, as well as director of the London Academy of Diplomacy, where he served as director from 2012 until it closed in 2016. The academy was partnered with the University of Stirling.

In a 2017 interview he claimed to be a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR),, although the ECFR website in 2018 did not list him as a member. He regularly attended meetings of the Valdai Discussion Club, an annual conference held in Sochi, Russia, backed by the Kremlin and attended by Vladimir Putin. According to a BBC report, Mifsud was in Moscow in April 2016 to speak on a panel run by the Valdai Club. Another of the speakers was Ivan Timofeev, who works for a think tank close to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mifsud then introduced Papadopoulos to Timofeev via email.  Mifsud reportedly claimed to his former girlfriend that he was friends with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. Mifsud himself denied having any contact with the Russian government, saying “I am an academic, I do not even speak Russian.

According to Mifsud, he was interviewed by the FBI in February 2017 while visiting the United States to speak at a conference. The FBI has not confirmed that they interviewed him, but he is listed as a featured speaker at the February 2017 national meeting of Global Ties, an event sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. Mifsud left the United States on February 11, 2017. Prosecutors with the investigation into Russian interference in the election suggested, in an August 17, 2018 sentencing memorandum for Papadopoulos, that they might have wanted to challenge, detain, or arrest Mifsud if Papadopoulos had told the truth about their interactions.

According to a filing in an American court in September 2018, Mifsud “is missing and may be deceased”. The attorneys had attempted to serve Mifsud with legal papers, but had been unable to locate him. He spoke to his girlfriend on October 31, 2017. The next day an Italian newspaper revealed that the “professor” referred to in news reports about Papadopoulos was Mifsud, and she has not heard from since. According to CNN, he has “gone to ground” and was last seen on November 6, 2017 at Link University, a private university in Rome where he was teaching at the time.

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