Greek Appeals Council votes against extradition of Maltese whistleblower

The Greek Appeals Council on Thursday rejected two requests for the extradition to Malta of former bank employee Maria Efimova, who is believed to have been a major source of assassinated Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galicia.

Caruana Galizia was murdered in October 2017 for exposing a money-laundering scandal involving Maltese politicians.

The Greek court also ordered that the 36-year-old woman be released.

Prosecutor Evgenia Kyvelou explained that the two European arrest warrants of the Maltese court authorities should have been dated after the national ones, but were done in reverse order. She added that the charges they cited were vague and generalising “with lesser offences” that did not merit the issuance of European arrest warrants.

A Russian national, Efimova turned herself in to a Greek police department at Syntagma Sqaure on March 18. She told the court she would not be treated fairly by the Maltese court system, as she has charged government members and the police with complicity in the scandal.

She had been employed at Pilatus bank, which was placed under supervision for irregular accounts from January to March 2016, as personal secretary to the president and CEO.

Witnesses for the defence included Greek and Maltese Eurodeputies, respectively, Stelios Kouloglou and David Casa, members of the Europarliament Committee that investigated the case of the Panama Papaers, which Casa said involved the director of the Maltese prime minister’s office.

In statements following the court case, Kouloglou called the ruling “a great victory for herself and for all whistleblowers in Greece and the world. We will continue with them the fight against global corruption.”

Thirty-six EuroMPs from various political groups expressed their support of Efimova by signing a petition in which they ask that she be granted asylum in Greece.