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University continues to face questions on Mifsud details

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Credit: BBC

The University of Stirling has responded to comment requests from Brig Newspaper about the recent developments surrounding Maltese academic Professor Joseph Mifsud.

It was recently revealed in a sentencing memo from the United States Government that former Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos’ lies to the Federal Bureau of Investigation allowed Mifsud to avoid proper questioning about his ties to the Russian Government and how he supposedly told Papadopoulos that the Russians had “dirt” on the Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton.

It was revealed that Joseph Mifsud was the mysterious London based academic that told George Papadopoulos about the Russians having intelligence on Clinton, and it was later discovered that Mifsud had ties to the University of Stirling, as he had a university staff page (which has since been deleted) which lists him as a ‘Professorial Teaching Fellow’.  Mifsud was also the Director of the London Academy of Diplomacy, which was linked with the University of Stirling who validated the degrees from L.A.D.  Mifsud resigned from the University of Stirling in November of 2017, shortly after George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to FBI Agents.

Brig Newspaper has approached the university’s Communications Office for a comment, who have responded.  A University spokesperson said: “Professor Mifsud is no longer employed by the University following his resignation on 23 November 2017.”  The comment does not acknowledge the recent developments surrounding Joseph Mifsud and how he was not properly questioned by the FBI about his involvement in any Russian interference in the US Presidential Election.

The University of Stirling and senior university staff has been criticised for its response to Mifsud revelations by both members of the press and politicians.

Former News Editor of Brig Craig Munro said that he felt that the university stonewalled the media, and that the comments from the university were not providing any new information, and they then stopped responding or responded with previous statements.  He said; The handling of the situation by the university really was abysmal, especially given the seriousness of the matter.”

STV journalist and former Editor-In-Chief of Brig Newspaper Dan Vevers, who has been reporting on the Mifsud story for STV has commented on the University of Stirling’s response to the entire situation surrounding Joseph Mifsud.  He said;

“The University of Stirling’s approach to dealing with requests from reporters regarding Professor Joseph Mifsud is perhaps best characterised by its opening gambit, in which it sought to downplay its relationship with him by saying he had only been in the university’s employ since May 2017.

“There is an abundance of important questions the university has never satisfactorily answered, such as its involvement with the Prof Mifsud-run and INTO-owned London Academy of Diplomacy between 2014 and 2016, which financial records show was in a £4m hole in 2014 while also spending £7.5m that year in ‘administrative expenses’. There are questions about the quality of work produced at this academy, where Stirling was using its prestigious name to accredit the academy’s Masters degrees.

“Finally, there are questions over how well and how long Gerry McCormac and former deputy principal at Stirling, John Gardner, had known Prof Mifsud. They all were based at Queen’s University in Belfast at similar times in the 90s, and several images on social media down the years show Prof Gardner and Prof McCormac pictured with the academic on various work jollies. Did their apparent personal relationships with Prof Mifsud colour their decisions to work with and employ this man? If so, it seems a lapse of judgement worthy of major scrutiny.

“Unfortunately, these questions and more have been put to the university by reporters and even a former UK culture secretary, to no avail, and for the time being, all national bodies which might provide some oversight to Stirling’s handling of this affair seem disinterested.”

The university’s Vice-Principal, Gerry McCormac, was criticised by former Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw MP, who called McCormac’s response to Mifsud questions “wholly unsatisfactory”

Bradshaw told Brig in February 2018 that the university’s response; “doesn’t begin to answer any of substantive questions.”

Many questions surrounding Mifsud remain unanswered, his whereabouts are still unknown and his method of resignation from the University of Stirling.

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