Leaked Russiagate ‘spy’ tape is a fake, says Joseph Mifsud lawyer

Recording published in Italian newspaper of Joseph Mifsud denying he is a spy, is not Maltese professor, says lawyer

Joseph Mifsud
Joseph Mifsud

A recording in which the Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud, implicated in the Russiagate scandal that has engulfed the Trump administration, appeared to deny claims that he was a spy was faked, his lawyer has claimed.

The tape emerged last week in an Italian newspaper and was purported to have been made by Joseph Mifsud, who went missing after he was implicated in a Russian plot to influence the US presidential election that brought Donald Trump to power.

In the recordings, sent anonymously to the Corriere della Sera, a person who identified himself as Professor Mifsud, 59, said: “I would like, first of all, to say that I have absolutely no contact with friends and family for a number of months now.

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“It’s been almost two years to date that the whole issue, blown-up issue, has been presented to the world media and on the world stage as if I had something to do with issues concerning countries or trying to infiltrate.”

The man in the recording goes on to describe as “absolutely absurd” the notion that he was involved with any “secret service, intelligence service or anybody of this sort”, adding that he had always been a “networker” for academic purposes and that it was “not my intent — never was my intent — to try to obtain any information to pass from one side to the other. I have never done so because I was never, never in possession of any information which could be useful to one or the other.”

However, Stephan Roh, the Swiss lawyer acting for Professor Mifsud, told The Times of London it was a malicious hoax. He said: “We do not think it is him. The tapes seem to be fabricated.”

Roh even suggested that his client might be being held against his will by unknown people. “We are very concerned about Professor Mifsud’s wellbeing,” he said, “If, or not, the tapes are real, the procedure of anonymous messaging does remind me of kidnappings in Italy 30 years ago.”

Mifsud allegedly alerted Donald Trump’s election campaign to Russian-held emails containing “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, his rival. Roh has also publicly claimed that the academic was a “western intelligence operator and did not act on behalf of Russia”.

But in the recording, ‘Mifsud’ denied claims that he knowingly worked for intelligence agencies, having been in hiding “with no human contact” for two years.

Corriere della Sera said it received the recording through an anonymous email account late on Tuesday night. Bellingcat, the investigative journalism site known for a series of exposes on Russian intelligence, said it analysed the recording and concluded that the voice is likely to belong to the Maltese academic, according to Buzzfeed News.