in

Efimova insists Malta is not safe for her

Pilatus Bank whistleblower says justice minister Owen Bonnici Bonnici is not right when he says that Malta is a safe place for her

Maria Efimova was interviewed by Euronews

Pilatus Bank whistleblower Maria Efimova said Malta is not a safe place for her given that the other material witness in investigations on alleged corruption involving the Prime Minister’s wife was murdered.

“In judicial investigations for political figures in Malta, there were two witnesses,” Efimova told Euronews, adding “one witness unfortunately was murdered last October and the other is me. That is why I do not think (justice minister Owen) Bonnici is right when he says that Malta is a safe place for me.”

Efimova is still awaiting the Greek Supreme Court decision on whether to extradite her to Malta. The decision will be made public on 14 June.

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

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

In the run-up to last year’s general election, Caruana Galizia published Efimova’s account, which included details about an alleged $1 million transfer to Egrant from Azerbaijan’s ruling family. The allegations have been denied by Pilatus Bank and Muscat but a magisterial inquiry is still ongoing.

Efimova fled Malta last year after saying that she feared for her life and that of her family, including her elderly father in Moscow who she said was being intimidated by “dodgy people.”

The European Parliament, alarmed by the Maltese journalist’s assassination, asked European Union member states, including Malta, to protect Efimova and grant her asylum as she had been harassed and forced to leave Malta.

The Russian whistleblower was in Athens to participate in a whistleblower conference in Athens organised by Investigate Europe and the Hellenic Union for Human and Citizens’ Rights.

“My motive is to show these people; who feel powerful, who possess all the wealth and believe they can do whatever they want, is that things are not like that. There is always God to judge them. God is not coming on earth Himself to punish those who do bad things. He sends people (to punish those who do wrong),” Efimova said.

On Tuesday Efimova said that she received threats by a man who approached her while she was jogging near her home in Crete. She said a Turkish-speaking man told her they would get to her.

Efimova believes that Pilatus Bank owner Ali Sadr – arrested in the US for money laundering and breaching US sanctions – is behind the threats she started to receive over the weekend.

On Twitter, Efmova said that “several hours” after Pilatus Bank owner Ali Sadr was granted bail in the US, she started receiving threats and added that would file a report with Greek police.

Why media literacy is needed

Disinformation Watch #2: Government, Labour Party distorting European Commission reports on Malta