The Maltese professor named as the supposed link between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia has denied having anything to do with the Kremlin.
In an interview with Italian news outlet La Repubblica, Joseph Mifsud denied having told former Trump advisor George Papadopoulos that the Russian government had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton.
"What Papadopoulos said [to the FBI] is not true," Prof. Mifsud said. "I completely deny having spoken about secrets concerning Hillary. I don't know anyone in the Russian government," he told La Repubblica.
"I've never taken a cent from the Russians, my conscience is clear," he said, saying that he was a member of the Clinton Foundation and politically left-leaning.
The professor however acknowledged that he had offered his services as an intermediary.
"All I did was facilitate contact between unofficial and official sources to resolve a crisis. It happens all over the world. I helped put a think-tank in touch with another think-tank."
Yesterday, a former employer of Prof. Mifsud's said the Maltese professor "knew a number of top Russian officials" and visited Russia regularly.
Prof. Mifsud recalled Mr Papadopoulos - who he said he met "three or four times" - having asked for contacts in various parts of the world, from the Gulf states to Latin America.
All I did was facilitate contact between unofficial and official sources to resolve a crisis. It happens all over the world. I helped put a think-tank in touch with another think-tank.- Joseph Mifsud
"They chose Russia. They were interested in discussing sanctions, Nato, Ukraine and stabilising relations - something Russia was also very interested in doing."
Prof. Mifsud made international headlines two days ago after an explosive court document in which Mr Papadopoulos admitted to having lied to FBI investigators was made public.
In the court document, Mr Papadopoulos said an unnamed London-based professor from the Mediterranean had said Russians had "thousands of emails" from the Clinton campaign and told him of his high-level Russian contacts.
Prof. Mifsud, an academic who served in the Maltese civil service for several years, said his only Russian contact was Ivan Timofeev, a foreign policy expert who chairs the Russian International Affairs Council.
The council is a think-tank with offices inside the Russian Foreign Ministry. It was founded in 2010 by then-president Dmitry Medvedev with the express goal of contributing to Russian soft power.
Mr Papadopoulos has also alleged that Prof. Mifsud introduced him to a Russian woman he claimed was the niece of President Vladimir Putin.
Prof. Mifsud laughed off the claims. "She's just a student, a very beautiful one. I introduced them in London when I discovered that he [Papadopoulos] had more than an academic interest in her. He asked her to join him in America. Putin has nothing to do with it - that's just fiction."
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