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21 July, 2024
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Lather, rinse, repeat

Cyprus' dirty laundry of money laundering



By Yiannis Georgoulas*

Everywhere we turn in Cyprus, the specter of money laundering looms large. It was an open secret for years that our banking system was complicit, resulting in repercussions from foreign authorities. An entire industry was built around laundering money of dubious origin through Cyprus, involving various financial sectors and service providers. It took us years to rectify this. However, have we truly learned from our past mistakes?

Every day brings new instances of money laundering, such as the transfer of large sums of cash through airports or even via mobile cryptocurrency exchanges operating openly on our streets. Even the most oblivious among us recognize that the issue is far more pervasive than initially believed. We must take decisive action to prevent further tarnishing of our country's reputation and to safeguard against potential disruptions to investment. Furthermore, all Cypriot citizens may suffer consequences due to the illegal activities of certain criminal elements.

It is imperative that the judiciary finally takes significant action, and the state must prioritize protecting law-abiding citizens. A new single supervisory authority for combating money laundering is being established at the European Union level, and Cyprus must follow suit. Those who oppose this likely prioritize their financial interests over the country's well-being.

We must cease turning a blind eye to these issues in order to salvage our reputation and maintain our status as a reputable business hub and gateway to Europe. With the right tools and personnel, we can cleanse Cyprus' service sector of any shadows.

*Yiannis Georgoulas, Strategy and Operations Consultant.

[This op-ed was translated from its Greek original and edited for clarity]


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