Italian police tried and failed to track down mystery Maltese academic Joseph Mifsud, a judgement issued by a Sicilian court has revealed.
Authorities were tasked with finding Prof. Mifsud to serve him notice of court action filed against him by the University Consortium of Agrigento, where he once served as president.
On Tuesday, Palermo’s court of auditors found Prof. Mifsud guilty of receiving overpayments and ordered him to pay back more than €49,000 to the University consortium.
It is not the first time the Maltese professor has run into legal trouble over alleged money matters. Back in 2013, the Slovenian government accused Prof. Mifsud of owing EMUNI university, where he also served as president, at least €39,000 for expense claims.
Italian courts may find that getting the Maltese professor to follow through on the repayment order is a tall task, however, since nobody seems to know where he might be.
The 27-page judgement lists his residence as “unknown” and notes how authorities looked for him across Italy and London. Police who showed up at a Rome address that he ostensibly lived at found that he had moved out in 2015. Attempts to find him at the Link Campus University, where he last worked, or a London address also ended in failure.
Prof. Mifsud, who spent years within the Maltese civil service and served as director of the University of Malta’s international office before branching out into academia, shot to international notoriety last year when he was named as the professor who told a member of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign team that the Russians had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.
At that meeting, Prof. Mifsud allegedly told Trump aide George Papadopoulos that the Russians had “thousands of emails” belonging to his presidential rival. Those claims led to an investigation into potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, which the current US president denies.
READ: 'Lavrov this, Lavrov that': Mifsud's girlfriend recalls his Kremlin talk
Papadopoulos was sentenced to 14 days in prison for lying to FBI investigators last month.
In his last public appearance, Prof. Mifsud denied having anything to do with the Kremlin. Speaking to journalists in late October, he described Papadopoulos’ claims as “fiction”.
He has not been seen since, and last week the US Democratic National Committee suggested in a court filing that Prof. Mifsud “may be deceased”.
The court papers gave no basis for that startling claim, and a Swiss-German lawyer claiming to be a friend of Prof. Mifsud’s poured cold water on that claim.
“I just this morning got a message, indirectly, that he is alive and that they have provided him with another identity,” Stephan Roh told The Daily Caller.