Updated | Maria Efimova’s release by Greek court was not based on concerns over rule of law

Official translation of a Greek court’s decision to reject Malta’s extradition request for Pilatus bank whistleblower Maria Efimova puts paid to claims that the ruling was based on concerns over her safety

Maria Efimova's Twitter picture
Maria Efimova's Twitter picture

Updated with Maria Efimova's reaction

A Greek court’s decision earlier this month to reject Maria Efimova’s extradition had nothing to do with rule of law concerns in Malta, an official translation of the ruling shows.

The ruling was delivered in Athens on 12 April and Efimova’s lawyer and Nationalist MEP David Casa had said the decision was based on concerns over the woman’s safety in Malta and fears that she would not have a fair hearing.

MaltaToday was unable at the time to obtain a copy of the ruling, which was in Greek.

However, an official translation of the court ruling sent to, and disseminated by the government this afternoon shows otherwise.

The reasons for the Greek court’s rejection of the European arrest warrant issued by Malta against Efimova had nothing to do with rule of law and safety.

The first reason given by the Greek court was that a national arrest warrant had not been issued for Efimova before the authorities resorted to an EAW. The court said an EAW was not an automatic substitute for a national arrest warrant.

The second reason given was that the nature of the charges brought against Efimova in Malta were not big enough to warrant extradition.

The Greek prosecutor has appealed the judgment.

Efimova, a former employee at Pilatus Bank, was issued with a European arrest warrant last year after she twice failed to turn up in the Maltese court.

Efimova is currently facing two sets of criminal proceedings. She has been accused by Pilatus Bank of defrauding it of roughly €2,000 in one case, and by the police of having made false accusations against Superintendent Denis Theuma, inspector Lara Butters and Jonathan Ferris, who had interrogated her.

Both cases happened in 2016 and pre-date the public fallout of the Egrant affair.

Efimova had worked at Pilatus Bank between January and March 2016 before being laid off. She had instituted a case in the Industrial Tribunal against Pilatus for unpaid wages.

Pilatus bank's operations in Malta are currently frozen after the bank's owner, Ali Sadr Hasheminejad was arrested and charged in the US with sanctions breaking against Iran.

Maria Efimova reacts

In a reaction on Twitter, Efimova accused the Maltese government of publishing "doctored documents", saying the judgment translated to Maltese was just 21 pages long while the original Greek ruling was 134 pages long.

 

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