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Greek judges blocks extradition of Malta ‘whistleblower’

April 12, 2018

Greek judges on Thursday blocked the extradition to Malta of a Russian alleged whistleblower in a Maltese anti-corruption and media murder scandal, a judicial source said.

The council of appeals judges also ordered that 36-year-old Maria Efimova be released from police custody, the source said.

The subject of two EU arrest warrants, Maria Efimova surrendered at the main police station on Athens’ Syntagma Square in March.

Efimova, who worked for Maltese bank Pilatus, feared for her life, reports said at the time.

She had fled to the island of Crete with her husband and two children after being accused of embezzlement on Malta and Cyprus.

Efimova is widely believed to be a key source of Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was killed by a car bomb last October as she lifted the lid on widespread corruption in her homeland.

After the killing, for which three suspects are in custody, her sons called on Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to resign, alleging he was overseeing a mafia state.

According to the EU Observer site, Efimova informed the European Parliament of her case last December, leading Portuguese lawmaker Ana Gomes to urge EU states to offer her protection.

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.