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AG denies claims of facilitating Egrant whistleblower’s departure

The Office of the Attorney General has denied claims on social media that it facilitated the departure of Maria Efimova, the Russian whistleblower in the Egrant case

jeanelle_mifsud
Jeanelle Mifsud
11 August 2017, 11:02am
The Office of the Attorney General had objected that the woman’s internal Russian passport be released
The Office of the Attorney General had objected that the woman’s internal Russian passport be released
The Office of the Attorney General has denied claims on social media that it facilitated the departure from of Maria Efimova, the Russian whistleblower in the Egrant case.

Dubbing the allegations “senseless”, the AG's Office clarified that - contrary to what he was being reported as saying - a former police official, Jonathan Ferris, who was part of the prosecuting team, had not objected to bail being granted to Efimova, who was arrigned in Court on 23 August 2016, charged with theft, misappropriation and fraud. Instead, the prosecution asked that bail be granted with certain conditions.

Upon this recommendation, the court had accepted the request for bail on condition that the accused deposit her Russian passport and the passport used internally in Russia. She was also ordered to pay a personal guarantee of €8,500 and sign a bail book regularly.

On 30 August 2016, Efimova filed a request to be allowed to travel and the court ruled that the accused leave a deposit of €9,500 and a personal guarantee of €15,000, among other conditions.

Seven days later, the accused filed yet another writ to be allowed to travel, asking also that the deposit and personal guarantee be reduced as she did not have the means to pay for them.

The Office of the Attorney General had objected to the request, due to the possibility of the whistleblower running off.

In a decree delivered on 12 September 2016, the court partially accepted Efimova’s writ, by slashing the deposit to €5,000 and removing completely the personal guarantee.

On 29 March 2017, Efimova filed a writ to travel on official duty, saying the company she worked for also operated in Spain, Germany and Czech Republic. She asked that her passport, residence permit and her internal Russian passport be returned to her, supporting her position by providing a copy of her employment contract and a declaration by the employing company that she was indeed an employee since 9 May 2016. The company also confirmed its operations in the mentioned countries.

The AG's Office had not objected to this writ, but requested conditions to be imposed, including that only the woman’s Russian passport be returned, and that she be restricted to travel solely to Spain, Germany and Czech Republic.

In its decision, the court ordered Efimova’s passport be returned and her travelling rights be restricted to EU member states, as well as ordering the accused to pay a €2,000 deposit.

The Attorney General had objected to the decision to release that the woman’s internal Russian passport.

According to the Office, in fact, Efimova’s Russian passport, internal Russian passport and residence permit remain confiscated, and thus, the Office said, were not used by the accused.

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