“80% sure that Mifsud is dead”. What has become of the Russiagate professor?
(Agrigento) In the city of temples it seems that everybody has now dumped him. In Agrigento, where the Maltese professor was president of the local university consortium, a full-blown race is on to take the most distance from him. The reference is to Joseph Mifsud, a key figure in Russiagate, who has been missing since October 2017.
Nobody knew anything
Mifsud arrived in Agrigento in April 2010 and was presented at the seat of the provincial government as the new president of the University Consortium. At the time the province was the largest shareholder in the body so a substantial number of the political decisions depended on what today the Region of Sicily knows as the “free consortium of municipalities”. The promotor of his appointment to the Agrigento university consortium was Eugenio D’Orsi, President of the Province from 2008 until 2013, the last before the body was wound up by Rosario Crocetta. “Mifsud – D’Orsi explained in the last few days – had given hope to Agrigento. He was a brilliant person, with unlimited knowledge and we wanted to bring Sicily to the world. The lecturer put me in touch with Malta, and we were about to build the airport thanks to that. That was the best side of him”.
Then, according to the former president of the province, something changed: “In the second part of the experience with him he was, and I will say this bluntly, a charlatan”, D’Orsi said in the interview mentioned above. The same former President then confirmed that the decision to select Mifsud was at the time backed by all the shareholders of the consortium, in other words also by the city council of Agrigento, the Chamber of Commerce and the University di Palermo. But today, as mentioned above, there is a race to dump the Maltese professor first. The city council of Agrigento has, through the current mayor, Lillo Firetto, in the last few days announced that the body has entered a civil claim in the proceeding brought by the Public Prosecution Office of Agrigento in relation to the “crazy expenses” incurred by Mifsud during his presidency.
The proceeding was brought after complaints had been submitted by Giovanni Di Maida, the current commissioner of the university consortium but at the time already a member of the board of directors. He also said he did not notice anything and that he heard Mifsud explaining that he made his trips abroad in order to enter into agreements with other foreign universities. These agreements were never concluded, Di Maida is at pains to point out. As, however, pointed out by Felice Cavallaro in Corriere Della Sera, “perhaps Di Maida, who was on the board of directors with professors Maria Immordino and Gianfranco Tuzzolino, could also have had some concerns a few years ago”. Like the other people involved, however, it was only recently that he noticed the “crazy expenses”: “Everything went through two functionaries of the Consortium who said nothing, a lady who is now retired and an office worker whom they had transferred from nearby Licata”, Di Maida explained.
In a nutshell, in Agrigento nobody had noticed anything or at least that is the explanation of the people involved. Gaps in the financial statements, strange telephone calls, suspicious trips and lengthy absences from Agrigento are the items of evidence that have only now emerged, just when Mifsud’s name is no longer confined to the local news. And it is only now, from a political point of view, that everybody in the city has begun to take a distance from the Maltese professor.
The suspicion harboured by the Public Prosecution Office
There is, however, another aspect that is destined to cast a larger shadow on the matter. It was the public prosecutors of Agrigento that brought proceedings against Mifsud, guilty of putting the university consortium into the red. Perhaps somebody helped the Maltese professor to cause the financial disaster. The public prosecution office would also like to find out about this in its investigation. The problem, however, and this is the thing that stands out most at the moment, is that Mifsud cannot be traced. As mentioned at the beginning of the article, there has been no trace of him since 2017, in other words for more than two years: “The Agrigento Public Prosecution Office has activated the procedures for the service of process but they are very complex because, amongst other things, the suspects are people who may no longer be alive”, according to a report by the Italian news agency AGI a few days ago.
But even more well-founded suspicions have been leaked from the Public Prosecution Office in the last few hours. There are growing rumours that the Agrigento Public Prosecution Service are now almost certain that the person they are investigating will in future have no chance to defend himself either in a court of law or at a political level: “It is highly likely that Mifsud is dead”, a source at the Agrigento Palace of Justice has confirmed. “We are talking an 80% possibility”.
The suspicion about the fate of Mifsud
There is further evidence that leads us to speculate that Joseph Mifsud may – and the use of the conditional is of course obligatory – no longer be alive, just to return to the rumours just mentioned. Even if it is obvious that we hope that this will not prove the case. We are talking about the mysterious audio file sent to the editors of Adnkronos and Il Corriere della Sera: “I hope you will make my words known, please listen to the attached files”, says the voice of a person who describes himself as Joseph Mifsud and who, on 11 November 2019, made those statements.
However, an expert – one of the best qualified in Italy – whom we had listen to the audio files is in no doubt: the voice is not that of the professor. “I am convinced that the audio file is fake and the person is not Professor Joseph Mifsud“. That is the view of the expert in forensic sciences, one of the most important in Italy working in the field, whom Inside Over contacted through Cristina Sartori, a court registered handwriting expert at the Court of Trento. The expert compared the audio file sent by the supposed Mifsud to the press agency Adnkronos and to Corriere della Sera, with two videos on Youtube in which the lecturer is heard speaking.
The analysis by the expert that we contacted is extremely interesting: “It was recorded with a microphone attached to the collar in a very large space, connected directly to the computer, there is a lot of echo”, she explained to InsideOver. “In the audio file sent to the Italian newspapers – she comments – you can also hear the voice of a woman towards the end who says 22”. The person in the audio message, she continues, “does not have the same intonation as the true Mifsud in the videos, who dragged his vowels because of his breathing. This thing is never in the audio file and I am quite convinced it is fake”. His lawyer, Stephan Roh, had also denied, in comments made to Adnkronos, that the person who made the audio message was the Maltese lecturer: “It is absolutely fake, 100 per cent”. Roh said: “The voice is too high, it is not his accent, not his tone, he seems like a true Italian”.
At this point, assuming that the handwriting expert is actually right (as we believe), the question must be asked: why would someone have made a fake audio message? There are two possibilities: either the Maltese lecturer is still in hiding – who knows where – or, in the worst case scenario, we are talking about a person who is possibly no longer alive. The last person who saw him in Rome told Panorama that “Joe has a nice apartment in Parioli, I last saw him there. It was March 2018”, the source explained. “That [Joseph Mifsud] disappeared in 2017 I read in the newspapers. I saw him again for the last time in Parioli, close to Piazza Euclide, where Joe had a nice apartment”. And then?
The hiding place in the Marche
From 31 October 2017 onwards – the official date of the disappearance – as ascertained by La Verità, the Milanese lecturer was a guest at the house of Alessandro Zampini, a surgeon specialising in odontostomatatology, which is situated six kilometres from Matelica, in Esanatoglia, a hamlet in the province of Macerata, one of the most beautiful hamlets in Italy. Zampini was not, according to Verità’s reconstruction, a “friend” of Vanna Fadini, manager of Global Education Management (GEM), the management company of Link Campus University, but his companion. The dentist lives in Rome but often returns to the hamlet where his mother Luciana lives. The name of Zampini, until recently, also figured amongst the members of the board of directors of Link Campus.
As Mifsud himself explains in the deposition delivered to John Durham: “I stayed there for more than two months – he explains – I spent these two months thinking about how to get back my health, which was one of the most important things, and also time to gather my ideas and points of view about what had actually happened”. The testimonies gathered by Verità confirm that the professor stayed in Esanatoglia at Zampini’s house.
Who is he Joseph Mifsud?
According to the official reconstruction, the lecturer stated in a meeting in April 2016 to George Papadopoulos, a campaign adviser of Donald Trump, that he had learned that the Russian government possessed dirt about Hillary Clinton “in e-mail form”. At that point the former aide to the President is reported to have repeated that information to the Australian High Commissioner in London, Alexander Downer, who in turn told everything to the American authorities. This led, on 31 July 2016, to the start of the FBI investigation into alleged links between Trump and Russia, allegations that subsequently proved to be without foundation. But who then designed and put together everything with the goal of “nailing” Trump? American justice is taking its course with John Durham’s criminal investigation.
On 7 November 2018 Giulio Occhionero – at the centre of the EyePyramid affair – submitted a complaint to the Public Prosecution Office of Perugia for the attention of Ms Gemma Milani. The complaint mentions Joseph Mifsud: a demonstration of the fact that nobody, wherever they are, can hide from the fact that the mysterious professor is of fundamental importance in understanding the origins of Russiagate and the international intrigue that has led Attorney General William Barr to visit Italy on two occasions already and hold talks with the leaders of our intelligence services. And a US Attorney General never moves from Washington DC, except in exceptional circumstances. Like this one.