Maria Efimova should now be extradited to Malta, Cyrus Engerer says

Cyrus Engerer asked group of MEPs, who had appealed to Greece to protect Maria Efimova from extradition, to withdraw their request, in light of Egrant inquiry conclusions

Cyrus Engerer said he has asked a group of MEPs, who had urged Greece to protect Maria Efimova from extradition, to withdraw their appeal
Cyrus Engerer said he has asked a group of MEPs, who had urged Greece to protect Maria Efimova from extradition, to withdraw their appeal

Cyrus Engerer said he has asked the 36 MEPs, who had last March asked Greek authorities to protect Maria Efimova from extradition to Malta, to withdraw their appeal following Sunday's Egrant inquiry revelations.

Engerer - who in June announced his candidature for the 2019 European Parliament elections, after having stepped down from his role as the Prime Minister’s representative in the EU the previous month - said on Twitter that after the Egrant inquiry’s “clear conclusions”, the MEPs' request to Greece should be lifted, for justice to be allowed to take its course.

In an email sent to MEPs, Engerer said the inquiry had concluded that what murderer journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia had said regarding the ownership of Egrant was "a lie and a total fabrication". He said the inquiry also found that falsified documents using fraudulent signatures were used to add more credibility to the story.

In March, 36 MEPs had sent an open letter to the Greek government, calling on it to ensure that Efimova, a former Pilatus Bank employee, was not extradited to Malta, and that she and her family be granted asylum and protection.

In June, a Greek court of appeals ruled Efimova should not be extradited from Greece to Malta because there was no assurance she would be given a fair trial and provided with appropriate protection.

A European Arrest Warrant against Efimova had previously been issued by Malta after she was accused of fraud by the bank, but she left the country before she could testify in the case.

This case predated the Egrant issue that put Pilatus Bank at the centre of allegations made by Caruana Galizia before the 2017 general election.

In their letter, the MEPs had highlighted that Efimova was a star witness in cases of corruption and money laundering at the bank.

The Russian national is also subject to an arrest warrant issued by Cyprus over another case of fraud alleged by a Cypriot company

The full text of Engerer’s email to the MEPs is below:

On 21 March of this year, together with another 35 Members of the European Parliament, you called for Russian citizen Maria Efimova to be protected from extradition to Malta.  You stated that Efimova is a whistleblower and a material witness in cases of corruption and money laundering.  Furthermore, you emphasised that the government of Malta, through a vicious campaign, tried to discredit and vilify her.

The truth has finally come out. In a report by Magistrate Aaron Bugeja who was tasked by the courts of justice to hold an Inquiry, it is proven that what Maria Efimova and the late Daphne Caruana Galizia "revealed" was a lie and a total fabrication.  The inquiry also reveals that following the lie, documents were falsified and fraudulent signatures were added to them in order to try and give substance to the story.

I am together with this email attaching an English translation of the inquiry report by Magistrate Aaron Bugeja which has left no stone unturned and which clearly and uncategorically (sic) proves not only that the story was made up, in what is being considered as the biggest frame-up for power in Malta, but also reveals the contradictions between Maria Efimova and Daphne Caruana Galizia’s testimonies and how they both also contradicted themselves in front of the magistrate.

After reading the inquiry’s conclusions, I am certain that you would be in agreement that your call for Maria Efimova’s protection against extradition to Malta should now be uplifted (sic).

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