The case of the self-anointed “Professor” Joseph Mifsud is getting more and more mysterious. Straight out of a cold war spy story is this middleman who appears, strangely, to have been acting on behalf of the Russians in an effort to create a mess in United States politics.
You can read some more about the hunt for this Joseph Mifsud in this Buzzfeed interview with his jilted ex-girlfriend.
There are a few dots around us that have us scratch our heads.
- Joseph Mifsud appears to have developed his contacts in Russia over many years. He claims to have been in the USSR in the early 1980s and during his years faking his way through meetings and dinners in London and Rome those contacts appeared to have deepened.
- Until 2008 he also nurtured his contacts in Malta to the extent that he found himself a place in the secretariat of Minister Michael Frendo. A man like that is a survivor and when his tea leaves told him to look elsewhere he endeared himself with Joseph Muscat.
- In the months leading to the 2013 election he appears to have been in close contact with Joseph Muscat’s campaign. That campaign was inexplicably flush with resources and introduced techniques that would later pop up in the Donald Trump campaign. Close to the election date, Joseph Muscat and Joseph Mifsud had public appearances together.
- Joseph Mifsud repeatedly drops the name of Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign Minister, to his girlfriend speaking about their close relationship and the access he has to him. The girlfriend (see Buzzfeed story) says Joseph Mifsud told her, ‘I have dinner with Lavrov tonight. Lavrov is my friend. Lavrov this, Lavrov that. He even show me picture with Lavrov.”
- In September 2013 Joseph Muscat, fresh on the international scene actually gets a meeting with Sergei Lavrov.
- In the subsequent two years Joseph Mifsud infiltrates the Donald Trump campaign. Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigating attempts by Russia to manipulate the United States election is interested in Joseph Mifsud’s activities. He refers to a ‘London-based professor’ in his reports, widely believed to be a direct reference to Joseph Mifsud.
- Joseph Mifsud denies any contacts with Russia in a 2017 comment to the Washington Post. However this is refuted by publicly available evidence. I wrote about this some time ago. There’s more detail in this Mother Jones post.
- During the 2017 campaign Joseph Muscat lets slip that the activities of the Russian secret service are foremost on his mind attributing the accusations he was fielding with respect to Panama companies and Pilatus Bank to Russian meddling. He specifically stated he believed Pilatus Bank whistle-blower Maria Efimova could very well have been an agent planted by the Russian secret service.
- A major aspect of on-going investigations in the United States is the use of Deutsche Bank by Donald Trump’s son in law Jared Kushner for loans suspected to be covers for money-laundering by Russian oligarchs. Deutsche Bank’s history with Donald Trump goes back even further and, as in this Newsweek article, some suspect the evidence of the Donald Trump connection with Russia is in the secret vaults of Deutsche Bank.
- In November 2016, the prime minister announced he would personally intervene to prevent the cancellation by Deutsche Bank of the Bank of Valletta’s correspondence status.
- In June 2017, Deutsche Bank cancelled the Bank of Valletta’s correspondence status. This happened a week after the 2017 elections. The anticipation of this fact alone may have forced the prime minister into early elections in 2017. As Daphne Caruana Galizia points out in this post, Pilatus Bank used the correspondent status of Bank of Valletta to conduct its business.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has several reasons to find Joseph Mifsud as there are many questions only he can answer. If anyone in Malta had reason to understand what has really been going on the last 7 years or so, finding Joseph Mifsud could prove useful as well.
Judging by his girlfriend’s experience though, it may prove not altogether unlike a chat with Gollum.