Whistleblower Maria Efimova is expected to be charged with perjury and slander, police sources have told The Malta Independent.
Efimova is a former employee of Pilatus Bank who allegedly leaked information to assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia regarding Egrant and its ownership. The journalist had alleged that a company opened in Panama was owned by the Prime Minister’s wife, Michelle Muscat. The magisterial inquiry, however, found no evidence to support these claims. It also found that the signatures on certain documents had been forged.
Sources close to the police told this newsroom that at the moment they are going through the voluminous inquiry report that Magistrate Aaron Bugeja compiled after a 15 month investigation on the allegations Efimova made. They said that, in the coming days it is expected that other persons apart from Efimova could be charged in relation to the Egrant investigation.
Last Tuesday this newspaper published a story saying that a second European Arrest Warrant (EAW) for Efimova can only be issued should new charges be brought against her by the police. “If the person was extradited on specific charges, they would not be able to be charged with another offence,” legal sources explained.
The first EAW against Efimova was issued after she fled Malta following charges of misappropriating €2,000 at Pilatus Bank and making false accusations against three police officers, one of whom was FIAU whistleblower Jonathan Ferris. The case predated the Egrant allegations.
Efimova later gave herself up to the police in Athens and was held in custody, with a court ruling that the request for extradition was vague and the alleged crime was not serious enough to merit her extradition. This decision was upheld by a Greek Court of Appeal, with PN MEP David Casa testifying in her case.
Questions surrounding a possible second attempt to extradite Efimova begun to gather steam after the Egrant Inquiry found no evidence to substantiate Efimova’s allegations.
She had claimed that the infamous Panamanian company Egrant belonged to Prime Minister’s wife Michelle Muscat, and that the PM’s wife had received a $1.07 million transfer from the daughter of Azeri President Ilham Aliyev.
If Efimova is faced with fresh charges after the publication of the inquiry conclusions, a new European Arrest Warrant can be issued.
This appears to be a possibility after Joseph and Michelle Muscat said that they were considering taking action against individuals mentioned in the Egrant Inquiry, “particularly, ones who have been front and centre of the allegations spread against the Prime Minister and his family”
After the publication of 50 out of 1,500 pages of the inquiry, Efimova had insisted that she stood by what she had claimed, despite the outcome.
“After partial publication of inquiry findings Malta has become even more dangerous for me to be there – people connected to Maltese government openly call for my execution,” Efimova had tweeted.
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