After Egrant, Pilatus and FIAU ‘whistleblowers’ accusing each other of lying

Sacked FIAU officer who claimed he was asked to discredit Efimova in court is now saying he ‘suffered because of her lies’

“Shame on you” – Maria Efimova (right) hit out at Jonathan Ferris for discrediting her after the Egrant affair was revealed to be a lie
“Shame on you” – Maria Efimova (right) hit out at Jonathan Ferris for discrediting her after the Egrant affair was revealed to be a lie

The ‘whistleblowers’ have turned on each other.

As the conclusions of the 1,500-page magisterial inquiry reveal how the Egrant affair was based on mistruths and even falsified documents, now the protagonists who once gave each other solidarity, are turning on each other.

One of these is the former police inspector and sacked FIAU investigator Jonathan Ferris.

Just over a month from the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia – the journalist who boldly alleged Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s wife owned the secret Panama company Egrant – Jonathan Ferris spoke of an attempt “by the authorities to involve him in an effort to discredit the former Pilatus employee Maria Efimova, widely believed to be the source of the Egrant affair.”

Ferris had in fact been one of the police officers to arrest and charge Efimova first with misappropriation of €2,000 from Pilatus Bank, where the Russian worked; and also with the defamation of her interrogators, among them Ferris.

After his sacking from the FIAU, ostensibly for having leaked the agency’s reports, Ferris claimed he was asked to testify against Efimova. “He speaks how after he refused to participated in the frame-up of Efimova he was taken off investigations into information leaked by the Panama Papers,” the Occupy Justice activist Manuel Delia wrote on his blog about his interview with Ferris.

Ferris was in fact instructed by the FIAU not to investigate the Panama affairs due to a conflict of interest in having investigated and testified against her.

But in the aftermath of the Egrant inquiry, Ferris is speaking differently about Efimova:

“I won’t comment on the Egrant report because I haven’t even read it yet, but if you had to ask me what I think about Efimova, I can say she had invented things from A to Z about me, including that I had induced a miscarriage,” Ferris told Lovin Malta. “I’m angrier than anyone that she hasn’t been extradited to Malta because I still have a pending case against her.”

Efimova’s extradition to Malta to answer for charges against her was stopped by the Greek courts. But she has enjoyed enormous support from people like Nationalist MEP David Casa, who this week published the infamous – and outdated – FIAU report that alleges a connection between minister Konrad Mizzi and chief of staff Keith Schembri, to a mysterious company in Dubai called 17 Black.

Efimova had claimed Ferris and police officer Lara Butters mistreated her during the interrogation – allowing two high-ranking Pilatus Bank officers into the interrogation room, not letting her sit down, denying her water, pressuring her to plead guilty, seizing her passports and calling her stupid.

Ferris, whose lawyer is Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi, who is also assisting the Caruana Galizia family, denounced her allegations as lies.

“I had offered her coffee and water but she rejected it and then she goes and says that I had denied her food… She had also said the mobile phone we found on her wasn’t hers, but when we charged it we found SMSes to Pilatus Bank’s CEO about a salary dispute and photos of herself and her children. She also told us she needed an interpreter but then spoke to her lawyer in English.”

“We were Efimova’s first victims and we are still suffering from her lies,” Ferris said. “The case took months to reach the Police Board and I am yet to receive a copy of the Board’s recommendations. Nobody from the police or the government has ever apologised for the hell we went through because of her lies.”

“I don’t know if she was telling the truth about Egrant or not, but experience tells me to be sceptical. Once bitten, twice shy, and I’d never deal with her again if it were up to me.”

Efimova and her Cypriot husband Pantelis Varnava hit back on Twitter.

“Shame on you, Jonathan Ferris. How low one can get? Crooks’ doormat, you’ve put me through the hell, and you are trying to make even more damage. Two months ago you were ready to come to Athens to testify in my favour, remember?”

Varnava also said on Twitter that Ferris sent an affidavit to their lawyer in Greece stating Pilatus bank officials were present during her interrogation. “My wife was put in the lock-up and intimidated. And if he wants to see my wife he can visit us in Crete, and I will explain to him who suffered.”

The Police Force had denied Efimova’s claims in an interview she gave to Greek portal on Saturday where she alleged mistreatment by the Malta police. She was quoted as saying: “The policemen who interrogated me told me, ‘We are friends of the bank’, and they even pressured me to apologise to the bank executives they had brought to the police station.”

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