The Russian whistleblower who supplied information on Pilatus Bank to murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has managed to raise nearly €6,000 so far in a crowdfunding campaign aimed at allowing her to apply for formal whistleblower status in Malta.
Maria Efimova wants to testify in the money laundering investigation of Pilatus Bank and to cover the cost of getting documents in her possession forensically checked to prove they are authentic.
She started a fundraising campaign on the GoGetFunding website two days ago aimed at raising €15,000.
“For the last two years my family was struggling, fighting extradition requests from Maltese police, that is why I cannot afford legal fees myself,” she says on the page appealing for financial support.
“Recent changes in Maltese government and Maltese police may help the truth to come out. I believe it is time to bring the Egrant story to an end.”
The former Pilatus Bank employee claimed to have supplied documents to Ms Caruana Galizia allegedly connecting the former prime minister’s wife Michelle Muscat to an offshore company called Egrant.
Let’s finish what Daphne started, together with Maria’s collaboration
Joseph Muscat denied the connection and a magisterial inquiry failed to find proof of it, effectively closing that chapter.
But Ms Efimova, who is currently in Heraklion, Greece, does not appear to be letting the issue lie.
She explains that whistleblower status would allow her to “testify in terms of the ongoing investigation into money laundering conducted by Pilatus Bank back in 2016”.
The magistrate who conducted the Egrant inquiry called for criminal proceedings against Ms Efimova after she was accused of committing calumny and perjury, having made statements that were later contradicted by other witnesses and evidence.
So far, 207 people have donated to the fund, bringing it up to €5,930, just over a third of her projected target.
Donors have commented on her page, showing their support. One said: “Would be great to get to the bottom of this! I would urge you to use a reputable forensic company, preferably same experts used in the Egrant inquiry. And, thank you.”
Another said, “Let’s finish what Daphne started, together with Maria’s collaboration.”
Another comment was: “Thank you Maria for putting yourself out there to rid of these crocks.”
David Thake, the former PN radio host who has been a strong supporter of Ms Efimova, told The Sunday Times of Malta that some people had questioned the validity of the fundraiser, saying that it may have been a scam. In a post shortly after its launch, he informed people on social media that the campaign was genuine as was being run by Ms Efimova herself.
The country, he said, “needs to know exactly what is true and what is not”.
“The inquiry concluded that the evidence that the magistrate saw did not point to the Muscats owning Egrant. The question is, did the magistrate see all the evidence he should have seen? Had he seen all of the evidence, would he have reached a different conclusion?” he said.
Attempts to reach Ms Efimova were unsuccessful by the time of publication.