[WATCH] Muscat shrugs off Greek court’s decision not to extradite whistleblower Maria Efimova

“I do not see [the decision] as a sign of no confidence” - Muscat said at news of the Efimova decision, saying the ruling was an autonomous decision of the Greek authorities

Joseph Muscat reaction to Greek court ruling on Maria Efimova EAW
Joseph Muscat reaction to Greek court ruling on Maria Efimova EAW
Joseph Muscat
Joseph Muscat

A decision by the Greek courts not to extradite to Malta Pilatus Bank whistleblower Maria Efimova, did not reflect badly on the Maltese Courts, the government or the rule of law in Malta, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said this afternoon.

Muscat was facing questioning by the media after news emerged that Efimova had been freed and would not be extradited to Malta, following a decision by a Greek court. “I have not yet seen the full sentence and cannot comment it,” he said. “It was not the Maltese government that had asked for Efimova’s arrest, but the courts that had independently asked for it.”

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 to face charges of fraud filed by her former employer.

Muscat recognised the ruling as an autonomous decision of the Greek authorities, but said the Maltese authorities would reach their own decision, equally autonomously. “I do not see [the decision] as a sign of no confidence,” he said. “If anything, it is an issue between the Maltese courts and those in Greece.”

When pressed, Muscat said this was not the first European Arrest Warrant that would not be served by an EU member state.

He was also not informed as to whether Greece’s attorney general would be appealing the decision. “As I side note, I need to remind you that this warrant was not related to the lie said about me,” he said.Pilatus Bank whistleblower Maria Efimova was freed and  will not be extradited to Malta, following a decision by a Greek court.

Speaking to MaltaToday, Efimova's lawyer Alexandros Papastergiopoulous said the decision represented a victory for the rule of law. He said the main reason for the court's decision were concerns about whether Efimova would be granted a fair trial, as well as concerns related to her safety if she were to be returned.

"Furthermore, the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) was inappropriately justified," he said, adding that the crimes did not warrant the issuing of a EAW.

In a tweet, PN MEP David Casa said the fact that Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi and OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri were not brought to justice made it clear that the rule of law in Malta was not functioning.

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 to face charges of fraud filed by her former employer.

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