The Malta Independent 8 December 2021, Wednesday

Egrant magistrate wanted Karl Cini, Maria Efimova investigated for perjury

Monday, 11 October 2021, 15:50 Last update: about 3 months ago

A police inspector has testified that perjury investigations following the Egrant inquiry were not limited to Jonathan Ferris, but also included Karl Cini and Maria Efimova.

Police Inspector Matthew Vella took the stand in the case filed against Ferris, a former police inspector and FIAU official who had investigated former PM Joseph Muscat and his wife, Michelle, over allegations that they held an offshore structure named Egrant intended to be populated with money from Azerbaijan.

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Following the conclusions of the Egrant inquiry by then magistrate Aaron Bugeja, Vella and Inspector Ivan Farrugia were requested by the police commissioner to analyse discrepancies in the testimony given by Ferris under oath relating to the transactions.

Ferris was subsequently arrested on 8 August 2018 and interrogated at length, after which he released an audiovisual statement to the police. The CD of this statement was not presented in the acts, the court was told.

Ferris denied any discrepancies in his testimony.

Cross-examined by Ferris’s lawyer Jason Azzopardi, Vella said former Deputy Police Commissioner Ian Abdilla had assigned the file to him. “’Kindly investigate’ there was nothing in particular. The inquiry didn’t focus on Jonathan Ferris only, but also other individuals,” said the witness.

Azzopardi reminded the witness that the proceedings were about perjury. “Who were you asked to investigate?”

“There were others but I don’t see any relevance,” replied the inspector, but later stated that “Ferris, Karl Cini, Efimova” were the targets of this investigation.

“So the recommendations of the inquiring magistrate on perjury are to investigate these 3 individuals?” Azzopardi asked.

Vella said he was investigating with inspector Yvonne Farrugia from the Summer of 2018 going on to 2019. Asked what the investigation involved, he said that “until I left, their statements. Ferris and Karl Cini. In Efimova’s case there was a problem with the European Arrest Warrant.”

“While you were still there, against whom were charges filed?” asked the lawyer. “Until I left, against none of them if I recall correctly,” replied the witness.

Azzopardi asked the witness what discrepancies he had found. “The discrepancy was that Ferris said X and the conclusions showed otherwise,” explained the inspector.

The court will decree on a request by lawyer Pawlu Lia, appearing for the Muscats who Azzopardi pointed out, were not a party to this case, to see the acts of the case. The court refused Lia’s initial request to see the court file as he was not parte civile yet. The case was put off until January 24 for the court to hear arguments on Muscat’s application to be admitted as parte civile in the case.

Magistrate Marseanne Farrugia is presiding over the case.

Police inspectors Wayne Borg and George Frendo are prosecuting.

Lawyers Jason Azzopardi, Kris Busietta and Julian Farrugia appeared for the accused.

Lawyer Pawlu Lia appeared on behalf of the Muscats.

 

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