Former police inspector and financial intelligence gatherer Jonathan Ferris has cast serious doubt on the credibility of former Pilatus Bank employee Maria Efimova, arguing that he has been a victim of her lies in the past.
“I won’t comment on the Egrant report because I haven’t even read it yet, but if you had to ask me what I think about Efimova, I can say she had invented things from A to Z about me, including that I had induced a miscarriage,” Ferris told Lovin Malta. “I’m angrier than anyone that she hasn’t been extradited to Malta because I still have a pending case against her.”
Ferris was one of two police officers who had interrogated Efimova after Pilatus Bank reported her for misappropriating some €2,000 after firing her in 2016.
According to Efimova, Ferris and Lara Butters had severely mistreated her during the interrogation – allowing two high-ranking Pilatus Bank officers into the interrogation room, not letting her sit down, denying her water, pressuring her to plead guilty, seizing her passports and calling her stupid.
She also accused superintendent Denis Theuma of aggressively manhandling her and pulling her phone out of hand.
However, Ferris denounced her allegations as lies.
“I had offered her coffee and water but she rejected it and then she goes and says that I had denied her food, f’ġieħ kemm hemm,” he said. “She had also said the mobile phone we found on her wasn’t hers, but when we charged it we found SMSes to Pilatus Bank’s CEO about a salary dispute and photos of herself and her children. She also told us she needed an interpreter but then spoke to her lawyer in English.”
Efimova was ultimately prosecuted for making false accusations against Ferris, Butters and Theuma but the case has stalled after Efimova fled Malta to Greece and the Greek courts rejected an extradition request. According to Efimova, she left Malta because she feared for her life after blowing the whistle on the Egrant scandal.
“We were Efimova’s first victims and we are still suffering from her lies,” Ferris said. “The case took months to reach the Police Board and I am yet to receive a copy of the Board’s recommendations. Nobody from the police or the government has ever apologised for the hell we went through because of her lies.”
“I don’t know if she was telling the truth about Egrant or not, but experience tells me to be sceptical. Once bitten, twice shy, and I’d never deal with her again if if it were up to me.”
Ferris was removed from the FIAU during his probationary period shortly after last year’s general election but was refused re-entry into the police force – from where he had originally been seconded.
Ferris had originally claimed he was sacked because the FIAU was scared he was going to uncover the damning truth behind the reports the Prime Minister’s wife Michelle Muscat owned the offshore company Egrant.
“After May 2, I became non-existent,” he told The Times of Malta. “Whenever I went to the office, it was like a ghost walked in. I think even the staff had been instructed not to tell me certain things. They started dividing work between themselves.”
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He also warned he had started carrying a gun with him after being followed in the streets, said he had made contingency plans for information on Pilatus Bank in his possession in case he gets murdered, and demanded 24/7 police protection outside his house.
The FIAU insisted Ferris was let go because he had fallen short of their expectations for the role.
Questioned about this statement in light of yesterday’s Egrant report, Ferris insisted he never suggested he was fired because he wanted to investigate the Egrant story.
“First of all, I never personally suggested that Egrant be investigated,” he said. “I was the head of the financial analysis unit so any investigation would have come to my desk anyway.”
“I was sidelined because the FIAU claimed I had a conflict of interest because I had investigated Maria Efimova before, a claim I disputed. They didn’t tell me more than that but I suspect my dismissal was political because I was made to leave on 16th June 2017 – three days before [Finance Minister] Edward Scicluna had suggested some FIAU reports had been written to be leaked.”
“Egrant got turned into a political ball but it had nothing to do with me. My fight is not a political one, but one in favour of my own interests – because I was unfairly dismissed from the FIAU and because I was discriminated against when I was denied re-entry into the police force.”