A statement by a cross-party group of MEPs in support of the Malta corruption whistleblower, Maria Efimova, who – in fear for her own safety after arrest warrants were issued by Malta and Cyprus – handed herself in to Greek police on Monday night in Athens. She could be deported to Malta if the Greek authorities do not grant her asylum.

Whistleblower Maria Efimova is a former employee of Pilatus Bank and a material witness in cases of corruption and money laundering.

Pilatus Bank, independently of Efimova’s testimony, has been exposed as a money laundering outfit for very powerful people in Malta and Azerbaijan. The recent arrest of the Pilatus Bank’s Chairman Ali Sadr Hasheminejad in the United States is further evidence of links to criminal activity.

Pilatus Bank’s complicity with persons at the highest levels of the Maltese government and in particular with Keith Schembri, the Maltese Prime Minister’s chief of staff, is well-established through leaked reports from Malta’s anti-money laundering agency.

The vicious campaign to discredit and vilify Efimova – a Russian national – by the Maltese government that commenced immediately after she revealed herself as the source of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia is ongoing to this day.

Daphne Caruana Galizia was assassinated on 16th October 2017.  After her killing, Maria Efimova stated that she had fled Malta out of fear for her life and the security of her family, and as the fear and the pressure of arrest warrants grew, she surrendered to the Greek authorities on Monday night.

A statement by the sons of Daphne Caruana Galizia said: “European institutions failed to protect our mother. Now they must protect her sources with the same vigour that should have protected her life. Maria Efimova is not an EU citizen but she faces the same danger. She should be protected – as our mother should have been.”

In view of the above as well as the frivolous nature of the allegations against Maria Efimova, we call on the Greek authorities:

– To ensure that she is not returned to Malta

– To offer asylum to Efimova and her family

– To provide protection and ensure her safety

Signed by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs):

AUSTREVICIUS Petras, ALDE

BAYET Hugues, S&D

BILDT CORAZZA Anna Maria, S&D

CASA David, EPP

CHILDERS Nessa, S&D

CICU Salvatore, EPP

DE LANGE Esther, EPP

DURAND Pascal, The GREENS/EFA

ENGEL Frank, EPP

FJELLNER Christofer, EPP

GASBARRA Enrico, S&D

GIEGOLD Sven, The GREENS/EFA

GOMES Ana, S&D

HADJIGEORGIOU Takis, GUE/NGL

HÖKMARK Gunnar, EPP

IN’T VELD Sophie, ALDE

JOLY Eva, The GREENS/EFA

KÖSTER Dietmar, S&D

KOULOGLOU Stelios, GUE/NGL

KYLLÖNEN Merja, GUE/NGL

LANGEN Werner, EPP

LE HYARIC Patrick, GUE/NGL

MACOVEI Monica, ECR

MARTIN Edouard, S&D

METSOLA Roberta, EPP

PAGAZAURTUNDÚA Maite, ALDE

ROSATI Dariusz, EPP

SCHIRDEWAN Martin, GUE/NGL

SCHULZE Sven, EPP

TOMC Romana, EPP

Miguel URBAN CRESPO, GUE/NGL

VALLI Marco, EFDD

VANDENKENDELAERE Tom, EPP

VIEU Marrie-Pierre, GUE/NGL

ZAMMIT DIMECH Francis, EPP

ZIMMER Gabriel, GUE/NGL