(The shift) Over 30 MEPs have signed a statement calling on the Greek authorities to ensure that Maria Efimova is not returned to Malta and to offer her asylum for her protection.

Maria Efimova – the Russian whistleblower at the centre of a corruption scandal involving Malta’s prime minister Joseph Muscat – is being held in jail in Athensafter she handed herself to the police on Monday. She has two pending arrest warrants issued by Malta.

Efimova is a former employee of Pilatus Bank and a material witness in cases of corruption and money laundering. The allegations against her were “frivolous,” the MEPs said.

Last year, she testified in front of a magisterial inquiry into allegations that the Prime Minister’s wife, Michelle Muscat, was the owner of a Panama offshore company called Egrant Inc, which declaration of trust the whistleblower said she had seen while working at Pilatus Bank.

Efimova’s claims about Pilatus Bank were first reported by the journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was killed by a car bomb on 16 October 2017.

The MEPs said Efimova was the victim of a “vicious campaign to discredit and vilify” her by the Maltese government that commenced immediately after she revealed herself as source of investigative journalist Caruana Galizia.

“Pilatus Bank, independently of Efimova’s testimony, has been exposed as a money laundering outfit for very powerful people in Malta and Azerbaijan. The recent arrest of Pilatus Bank’s Chairman Ali Sadr Hasheminejad in the US is further evidence of links to criminal activity.

“Pilatus Bank’s complicity with persons at the highest levels of the Maltese government and in particular with Keith Schembri, the Maltese Prime Minister’s chief of staff, is well-established through leaked reports from Malta’s anti-money laundering agency,” the MEPs said.

Caruana Galizia was assassinated on 16 October 2017.  After her assassination, Efimova stated that she fled Malta out of fear for her life and the security of her family, and as the fear and the pressure of arrest warrants grew, on Monday night she surrendered to the Greek authorities.

Caruana Galizia’s three sons said in a statement on Wednesday: “European institutions failed to protect our mother. Now they must protect her sources with the same vigour that should have protected her life. Maria Efimova is not an EU citizen, but she faces the same danger. She should be protected, as our mother should have been.”

A spokesman for the Hellenic Police told The Shift News that Efimova was being held in jail in Athens until the judicial authorities take a decision on whether to extradite her to Malta.

The Members of the European Parliament (MEPs):

AUSTREVICIUS Petras, ALDE/ADLE

BAYET Hugues, SnD

BILDT CORAZZA Anna Maria, EPP

CASA David, EPP

CHILDERS Nessa, SnD

CICU Salvatore, EPP

DE LANGE Esther, EPP

DURAND Pascal, the GREENS/EFA

ENGEL Frank, EPP

FJELLNER Christofer, EPP

GASBARRA Enrico, SnD

GIEGOLD Sven, the GREENS/EFA

GOMES Anna, SnD

HADJIGEORGIOU Takis , GUE/NGL

HÖKMARK Gunnar, EPP

IN’T VELD Sophie, ALDE/ADLE

JOLY Eva, the GREENS/EFA

KÖSTER Dietmar, SnD

KOULOGLOU Stelios, GUE/NGL

KYLLONEN Merja, GUE/NGL

LANGEN Werner, EPP

LE HYARIC Patrick, GUE/NGL

MACOVEI Monica, ECR

MARTIN Edouard, SnD

METSOLA Roberta, EPP

PAGAZAURTUNDÚA Maite, ALDE/ADLE

ROSATI Dariusz, EPP

SCHIRDEWAN Martin, GUE/NGL

SCHULZE Sven, EPP

TOMC Romana, EPP

URBAN CRESPO Miguel, GUE/NGL

VALLI Marco, EFDD

VANDENKENDELAERE Tom, EPP

VIEU Marrie-Pierre, GUE/NGL

ZAMMIT DIMECH Francis, EPP

ZIMMER Gabriel, GUE/NGL


Article by  for The shift

Featured image via The shift

Close Menu