LONDON — A company whose director is a lawyer representing Joseph Mifsud was renamed “The No Vichok Ltd” a month after the nerve agent attack in Salisbury.
According to the official registry of UK companies, Companies House, a resolution confirming “Inverhold Ltd” had changed its name was made on April 23 last year.
Stephan Roh — a 51-year-old Swiss lawyer representing Mifsud, the mysterious Maltese professor at the heart of the Trump–Russia probe — is listed as the company’s only director on the Companies House website.
Asked about the name change, Roh suggested in an email to BuzzFeed News that the nerve agent attack was a western intelligence conspiracy, and the company was intended to do research.
A Novichok nerve agent was identified as being used to poison Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the English city of Salisbury in March 2018. The Skripals and a police officer who responded to them falling ill all spent time in hospital before being discharged. Two other people were later poisoned, one of whom died. UK prosecutors have named two Russian nationals, later identified by investigative journalists at Bellingcat as officers from Russia’s GRU military intelligence service, as being responsible for the poisoning.
Accounts for The No Vichok were signed by Roh on behalf of the dormant company’s board on Oct. 17 last year.
It’s unclear what The No Vichok, which was incorporated as Inverhold by Roh in 2013, does.
Roh told BuzzFeed News last November that he was Mifsud’s lawyer, and that the Maltese academic wanted to testify before the US Senate.
Mifsud disappeared after he was identified as the unnamed professor alleged by FBI investigators in court documents unsealed in October 2017 to have told Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos that the Russians had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of thousands of emails, months before the Democrats themselves were aware that their computer system had been hacked.
Mifsud has not been seen in public since November that year. His former girlfriend in Ukraine says he disappeared, prosecutors in Italy investigating a decade-old case couldn’t locate him, and US investigators have complained they weren’t able to interrogate the professor thoroughly when he was last in the US in February 2017. Democratic National Committee lawyers even suggested he may be dead.
Last October, Roh emailed a photograph of Mifsud purportedly taken in May 2018 to several news organizations, including BuzzFeed News. Despite several requests, Roh has not granted BuzzFeed News or other outlets permission to publish the photo, the existence of which was first reported by the Associated Press.
In the photo, the Maltese professor, sporting stubble and with his stare fixed on the camera, is pictured seated at a table with the May 17, 2018, edition of a Swiss newspaper. According to Roh, who was interviewed by the FBI last year as part of the Trump–Russia investigation, Mifsud, 58, was in Zurich days later, instructing legal representation and recording a witness statement with Roh’s law firm. A power of attorney document dated May 21 this year can also clearly be seen in the photograph.
Roh claims that Mifsud has done nothing wrong and was set up — and denies having ever told Papadopoulos the Russians had dirt on Clinton.
The No Vichok is one of at least seven UK-registered companies for which Roh is a director. In January this year another of these companies changed its name from “London Center for International Law and Diplomacy” to “Checkpoint News Limited.” The company was originally called “Global Global Ltd” when it was first incorporated in 2016.
Roh said: “This Company serves victims of press defamation: it concentrates on claims, appointment of lawyers, funding, management and supervision of court cases”.
Mifsud's and Roh’s careers have intertwined at several junctions: Mifsud was a consultant at Roh’s law firm. The Swiss lawyer was advertised as a visiting fellow in a brochure promoting the diplomacy academy where Mifsud was a director. The two men, who have known each other for more than a decade, coauthored a number of reports between 2015 and 2017. They spoke on the same panel at a Valdai Discussion Club in April 2016, an annual gathering of Russian and international political, media, and academic elites backed by the Kremlin. And both men have long had a professional relationship with Rome’s Link Campus University where Mifsud worked since the 2000s, and Roh was an investor through a London-registered company called Drake Global, of which, according to Companies House, the Swiss lawyer is the only director.
Last March the BBC reported that Roh bought a small British nuclear firm called Severnvale Nuclear Services Ltd in 2005. Under its previous owners, the company's turnover had been £42,000 a year. According to the BBC, within three years, Severnvale Nuclear was turning over more than £24 million a year, despite having only two employees.