Former prime minister Joseph Muscat has welcomed perjury charges against former FIAU manager Jonathan Ferris and Pilatus-Bank-employee-turned-whistleblower Maria Efimova, saying he “hopes they catch the mastermind” behind the Egrant case soon.
“Two years after a confirmed plot to dirty the name of my wife and I, to destabilise the country, Malta’s authorities have taking steps to confront these two as directed in the conclusions of the magisterial inquiry that I called,” Muscat wrote.
Ferris and Efimova have been charged with perjury following a request for an investigation into the report of the Egrant inquiry two years ago.
Efimova could not be traced to be notified about the case. She had previously fled Malta to Greece because she feared for her life after blowing the whistle on the Egrant scandal.
Meanwhile, the magistrate involved in the case, Magistrate Joe Mifsud, stepped down for reasons of recusal.
Times of Malta reported that the Magistrate felt there was conflict of interest as he was already presiding over a stalled case in which Efimova was charged with making false accusations against Superintendent Denis Theuma and police inspectors Jonathan Ferris and Lara Butters.
The Egrant inquiry was triggered by Joseph Muscat after slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia made the claim. She had published a post alleging that offshore company Egrant belonged to Michelle Muscat. Efimova was confirmed as the whistleblower of information.
The inquiry, led by Magistrate Bugeja, did not find any evidence linking Egrant to Michelle Muscat.
Former police inspector and FIAU manager Jonathan Ferris had alleged that there was a $600,000 transfer from an Azeri politically exposed person to New York fashion house Buttardi, a company owned by a close friend of Michelle Muscat. Experts engaged by the inquiry could not find any trace of this transaction.