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21 July, 2024
 

Cyprus linked to Magnitsky case through luxury hotel investment

Cyprus implicated in luxury hotel investment linked to notorious Russian tax fraud case

Newsroom

The international organization OCCRP, specializing in organized crime and corruption, has once again implicated Cyprus in investment cases related to the luxury hotel Cap St Georges in Peyia. The connection ties back to the infamous Magnitsky case, a high-profile tax fraud scandal in Russia.

Named after whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky, who died in prison after exposing a $230 million fraud, the case involved funds being funneled out of Russia through a complex network of shell companies.The Cap St Georges Hotel 

The OCCRP report reveals a connection between the Cap St Georges Hotel and the Magnitsky case. Advertisements list Korantina Homes, owned by Cypriot businessman George Ioannou, as the luxury resort's developer. However, the resort's origins are more intricate than suggested, developed by a group of companies, including shadowy offshore entities, making ownership difficult to trace.

Early investors in the luxury villas at Cap St Georges were allegedly linked to the notorious Russian tax scam, as per OCCRP findings based on leaked company records and the Cyprus Confidential expose.Photo source - occrp.org

The alleged leader of the criminal group behind the tax fraud, Dmitry Klyuev, reportedly purchased a villa in Cap St Georges and appears to have been a shareholder in an investment company connected to the resort. Klyuev, sanctioned by the US government in 2014 for his role in the Magnitsky conspiracy, reportedly retained ownership until 2019.The investment in Peyia (Photo source - occrp.org)

Igor Sagiryan, then chairman of a financial company tied to tax fraud proceeds, was a founding shareholder of the offshore holding company that brought investors to the Cap St Georges project.

In response to the revelations, George Ioannou emphasized compliance with regulations during development, including environmental restrictions, to preserve the area's natural beauty. He stated that his company, Korantina, and its subsidiaries always operate in full compliance with laws and regulations.Mr. George Ioannou (Photo source - Simerini Online)

Notably, the European Commission warned Cyprus in 2019 about inadequate assessments of projects affecting the natural environment, including Cap St Georges.

George Ioannou's companies made substantial political donations from 2016 to 2022, totaling at least 170,000 euros to all parties except the "Green Party." Ioannou defended the contributions as transparent and compliant with maximum allowable amounts.

Theano Kalavana, president of OPEC, acknowledged the donations as generous compared to Cyprus' political standards, emphasizing their transparency.

TAGS
Cyprus  |  Russia  |  scandal  |  corruption

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