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Cyprus Police Probing Russian Whistleblower of Maltese Bank

November 10, 2018

Cypriot police said they are still looking into alleged criminal offenses of Russian whistleblower Maria Efimova, whose revelations helped shut down Malta’s disgraced Pilatus Bank for money laundering and led to the murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Cyprus’ government sent a letter to the Council of Europe notifying the investigation is ongoing, the document in response to a media freedom alert issued in January 2018 after European lawmakers asked countries to grant asylum to Efimova, who is now in Greece.

Efimova was said to have been one of Galizia’s main sources on allegations the wife of Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had received more than $1 million from Azerbaijan’s rulers through the bank and that she owned a secret offshore company.

A magisterial inquiry has since decreed that Efimova’s testimony was contradictory and that her claims had not been proven, said Malta Today.

Cyprus insisted that Efimova, who lived in the country before going to Malta, had committed crimes unrelated to her role in the Pilatus Bank case and that an arrest warrant issued on Nov. 28, 2017 was “in no way related to the case investigated by the Maltese authorities against Maria Efimova.”

The probe is said to be looking into claims by her former employer on Cyprus, the Russian-owned Cypriot company IFD Fragrance Distribution about alleged wrongdoing but no details were given.
Efimova said the “new charges” by Cypriot police were part of a plot to discredit her and to extradite her to Malta to face other charges there.

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