The Russian whistleblower at the heart of the Egrant scandal has said she is not in hiding but is actually living freely in an EU country, despite an international and an European arrest warrant having been issued against her last April.
“As soon as I heard that a European and an international arrest warrant had been issued against me, I went to the police department of the country I am staying in now – which is an EU country – to declare that I am not hiding and that I will cooperate,” she said in an interview with journalist-blogger Manuel Delia. “The police told me there is no arrest warrant for me in their database. I have travelled at least two or times in Europe since November and I have fortunately never been arrested, so I don’t know where this information is coming from.”
Last November, police inspector Jeffrey Scicluna told the court that an international arrest warrant and a European arrest warrant had been issued against Efimova last August, after she repeatedly failed to turn up to a fund embezzlement case case instigated against her by her former employer Pilatus Bank.
Scicluna said the Maltese police have communicated such warrants to all member states via the Schengen Alert System, but they still have no information on Efimova’s whereabouts. Late last year, a special delegation of MEPs wrote to the authorities of Efimova’s country of residence to ensure she receives adequate safety.
Efimova said she fled Malta because she feared for her safety and claimed an unspecified Maltese politician went as far as to subcontract a private detective to follow and speak to her father in Moscow.
Maria Efimova during an interview with The Malta Independent
“The detective first spoke to my father’s neighbours and then approached him personally to inquire whether my mother had really passed away, perhaps in an attempt to out me as a liar who had pretended my mother died to make people feel sorry for me,’ she told Delia. “My father gave me the detective’s details, and I approached his firm personally to explain the situation in Malta and to tell them not to bother my father anymore. They said they were sub-contracted by a Moscow agency, apologised and said they won’t ask any more questions. The second agency then told me they were contracted by a political person from Malta. They mentioned the name of this person but since I have no written proof, I do not think it would be correct to mention it.”
Efimova went on to say that her father was recently informed by the Russian authorities that her previous employer in Cyprus had filed a complaint against her, despite her having left the job four years ago. When she called the Cypriot police, they told her to travel to Cyprus for more information.
“It was strange that the second set of detectives approached my father, but when I did some research on the director of the company who made the complaint I found out that she works in a Cypriot financial services provider which is serving an Azeri company. Then it clicked to me that something is familiar here…”