University of Malta has no record that Italian prime minister candidate ever lectured in Malta

Conte, a law professor at the University of Florence, said he taught an international course entitled ‘European Contract and Banking Law’ at the University of Malta in 1997

Guiseppe Conte, a law professor put forward as Italy's next prime minister, faced suspicions about his academic credentials on Tuesday, after the University of Malta said they had no record of him lecturing in Malta

Guiseppe Conte, 53, has been put forward by the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and far-right League as their candidate to become Italy's prime minister.

Conte included seven summers of studies at New York University and lecturing at the University of Malta in a 12-page resume covering the years since Guiseppe Conte earned his law degree from Rome's Sapienza University in 1988. Other entries included time spent at an array of top universities in the United States, Britain and France, without specifying the courses or areas of research he undertook.

In a statement Tuesday, New York University said records showed that Conte had "no official status" at the school, but "was granted permission to conduct research in the NYU Law library" during the same years listed on his resume.

University spokeswoman Michelle Tsai added that Conte also "invited an NYU Law professor to serve on the board of an Italian law journal."

Conte's CV further notes that he taught a course in European contract and banking law at the University of Malta during the summer of 1997.

The University of Malta on Tuesday said it had no record of Conte "ever forming part of the resident academic staff," but added that "he may have been involved in lecturing duties during short courses organized in the summer of 1997" by a now-defunct foundation that worked with the university.

Conte did not respond to the speculation he padded his official resume, which was submitted to the Italian parliament in 2013.

The 5-Star Movement, one of the populist forces offered a vigorous defense.

Conte "never boasted" of holding degrees from foreign universities, but "stayed abroad to study, enrich his knowledge and perfect his juridical English. For a professor of his level, the opposite would have been strange," the movement said.

The resume also says Conte studied at the International Kultur Institut in Vienna in 1993. No school responding to that name could be located in Vienna, but a language school called the Internationales Kulturinstitut declined to comment, citing privacy issues.

Cambridge also declined to confirm an affiliation with Conte, citing privacy, and the Sorbonne didn't immediately respond to queries.

Conte's imminent appointment comes more than two months after an inconclusive general election left Italy in a state of flux.

The leaders of Cinque Stelle and Lega, Luigi di Maio and Matteo Salvini respectively, will be holding powerful ministerial roles. They agreed to Conte’s name as a compromise.

More in World