My interview with Pilatus Bank eye-witness Maria Efimova continues today. Yesterday’s extract ended with Maria Efimova speaking on how a Maltese political person engaged private detectives in Russia to dig up her background and harass her father.
Today she continues to describe more harassment she has suffered and how some of it did not quite work out. Yet.
Here’s Part 4.
The final segment will be uploaded tomorrow.
MD: Were you harassed again? Did you ever come across behaviour that you would suggest is pressure, of any sort?
ME: When I was in a process to leave Court hearings of Pilatus Bank’s claim of misappropriation of funds, I had a lawyer which I hired for to defend me, and to my full surprise, this lawyer wasn’t on my side, he was many times telling me in front of other witnesses that I should plead myself guilty and I should be ashamed of my behaviour, he said as a foreigner I do not understand Maltese mentality and the counterparty, the respectable respectful Bank, and I’m no one, and I need to pay what the Bank is asking me to pay, keep low profile and not make any problems to anyone.
MD: And what did you do with this lawyer? Did you fire him?
ME: Yes of course I changed him.
MD: Do you want to tell me who it was?
ME: That was, I was paying that man, and he was against me, that was actually unbelievable. And I found out, I changed him, you know, it should have been a reason to change him, so I found out that my lawyer’s son is a close friend of the husband of the Legal Officer of Pilatus Bank, they are socialising together, so I sent my lawyer official letter asking him to resign for that reason, for the conflict of interest he didn’t inform me before, to agree to be my lawyer, and he resigned.
MD: OK, and then you got another lawyer?
MD: OK. So, what’s happening there is that the case is still being heard but you haven’t been showing up to the hearings so the police filed an international arrest warrant to bring you to the bench so that you can answer for the accusation of misappropriation. What does your lawyer tell you about that, and how do you feel about that?
ME: First of all, I went to Police Department in the country where I am now, it’s a European Union country, once I heard about that international and European arrest warrant, and I went there to declare that I’m not hiding, I will actually, I am going to cooperate, and Police told me that there is no such thing, there is no warrant of arrest or something in their database, and since November I was travelling at least two or three times within Europe and I have never been arrested, fortunately, so I don’t know what all this information is coming from.
MD: Was there any other episode of pressure? So we have the visit to your father, or visits to your father, from the private investigators, we have the international arrest warrant issued from Malta or maybe not, whatever it is it doesn’t seem to be in effect, it doesn’t seem to be affecting you. Was there any other, I don’t know, approaches to previous employers, any other initiatives taken by someone who wanted to make your life difficult?
ME: Yes, yes. Just, let’s say a couple of days ago, I heard from my father again, again he had a visit from some authorities represented in Russia, not the police, other authorities, they came to his house and they told him that there is a request from my previous employer in Cyprus that they just filed a complaint against me with the Cypriot authorities and they wanted to learn some information about me. So that’s why I found out that my previous employer, for whom I was working like almost four years ago, he had, out of sudden, he had a complaint.
MD: So. Ok let me clarify this a bit. Your father was visited by authorities of the Russian state or private investigators again.
ME: No, no. Russian state.
MD: So the Russian state police, or authorities, whoever they are, they were acting on request of the Cypriot police I imagine. Is this correct?
MD: Yes. Ok. So when this conversation happened, what did you do? Did you try to get in touch with the Russian authorities, or maybe the Cyprus authorities or maybe your former employer? Did you try to do something to find out what’s going on here?
ME: Yes, of course, immediately. It was just before Christmas, I mean, the Catholic Christmas, which is in December, and I immediately tried to call Cypriot police and my former employer but they were not answering so I managed to spoke to them just last week. My former employer is still not willing to speak, but I managed to speak to the Cypriot police and they told me that my former employer a month ago filed a complaint and but they didn’t disclose more information, they told me that I should come to Cyprus and then they will tell me.
MD: It’s a bit strange, right, you know, that you were working there four years ago, you heard nothing from them, then after four years they go to make a police report. And is it a bit strange that they also had your father’s address, the same address the private investigators working for a Maltese political person found, tried to find you at?
ME: Yes it was actually a bit strange that they approached immediately my father, I mean, they didn’t try first to make a request to Moscow, they just come straight to him and, I was making my researches of course, because all this situation is not something usual, and it cannot be explained by you know something usual, I was checking the director of the company who made the complaint, she’s working in corporate services provider company, she’s an employee of the corporate services provider, the Cypriot company, and I found out that this corporate services provider, I just found out today because I was looking for information and I found out that they are serving some Azerbaijanian company. So that speaks to me, says something familiar.
MD: Something you’ve seen before. OK so, in this time since March or rather let’s say since October 2016, since you spoke to Daphne Caruana Galizia or even more importantly since February 2016 and April when she started writing about this, have Pilatus Bank made any attempt to contact you?
ME: Yes, they were trying to contact me before she started to write, in September 2016, like let’s say six months after I left the Bank, I started receiving messages, by Whatsapp to my personal number from an employee of the Bank, she included me in a conversation about clients of the Bank and you know, I wasn’t employee any more, but she included me in the group. Once I saw it of course I left that group, I thought maybe it’s a kind of a trick, you know.
MD: Or maybe a mistake
ME: Maybe a mistake, I don’t know, I never spoke to that employee after that, I just left the group. But no, they didn’t, then the story broke up, Pilatus Bank didn’t try to contact me in person, they were doing it via media, newspapers I would say.