Former Pilatus Bank employee Maria Efimova has resisted calls for her extradition to Malta, warning the country has become even more dangerous for her in the wake of the Egrant inquiry findings.
“After partial publication of inquiry findings Malta has become even more dangerous for me to be there,” Efimova tweeted. “People connected to Maltese government openly call for my execution.”
Efimova was responding to a request by Labour MEP candidate Cyrus Engerer to a group of 36 MEPs who had last March urged Greece to safeguard Efimova from extradition to Malta. In his letter, Engerer insisted that the MEPs retract their appeal in the wake of the Egrant inquiry – which found serious contradictions in her testimony and that of assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Efimova is already facing two sets of criminal proceedings in Malta – one for allegedly defrauding Pilatus Bank out of €2000 and another for falsely accusing three police officers of maltreating her when they had interrogated her for alleged fraud.
Malta issued a European Arrest Warrant against Efimova after she fled to Greece, but Greek court of appeals ruled in June that she should not be extradited to Malta because there was no assurance she would be given a fair trial and appropriate protection.
However, her position has been rendered far less secure after magistrate Aaron Bugeja concluded an inquiry which dismissed allegations that Egrant belonged to the Prime Minister’s wife and that it had received large sums of money from a Dubai company belonging to Azerbaijan’s ruling family.
Caruana Galizia wrote that Efimova was her main source for her story, including a declaration of trust which allegedly showed Egrant belonged to Michelle Muscat. Magistrate Aaron Bugeja asked both Caruana Galizia and Efimova for a copy of this document but both claimed to have seen it from the other. The only copy of this document that was handed to the inquiry came from Pierre Portelli – back then editor in chief of The Malta Independent and now head of the PN’s media. The magistrate declared that the document was falsified, including a forged signature of Mossack Fonseca’s nominee director.
The Prime Minister’s spokesperson told The Times of Malta today that the Egrant inquiry calls for criminal action against “individuals who were part of this orchestration, in particular ones who have been front and centre of the allegations spread against the Prime Minister and his family”.
Lovin Malta has repeatedly attempted to contact Efimova since the Egrant inquiry findings were published last week