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22 June, 2024
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Cyprus faces double-digit sanctions violations chaos

Cyprus Confidential files shake financial landscape

Source: CNA

Cyprus’ Law Office has received complaints on possible sanctions violations amounting to double-digits, Attorney-General George Savvides told a parliamentary committee which discussed the “Cyprus confidential” publication, involving millions of leaked files on financial transactions investigated by the International Consortium of Investigative Reporters (ICIJ).

Charalambos Charalambous, Director of the Office of the President of the Republic said that Cyprus has requested expert assistance from a foreign country, which will contribute to the work of the Police to investigate these reports, stressing that Cyprus intents to proceed with the establishment of single financial conduct oversight authority.

On her part, Minister of Justice and Public Order Anna Koukkides Procopiou said that the aim is to complete the investigation with a view to “restore the name of the Republic of Cyprus.”

Recalling that the President has requested expert assistance from a country with vast experience on financial investigations, Procopiou there should be no doubt over the government’s determination to investigate these reports.

She also noted that these reports are not new as they concern cases already being investigated by the Police, pointing out that new data emerging from the press reports were minimal.

Speaking before the committee, Savvides said that given international interest generated by the publications all these press reports should be investigated.

He said that the Law Office has received complaints on possible sanction violations numbering in double digits both from Cyprus and abroad, adding that a special team has been set up by the Police to carry out the investigation.

Cyprus, he said, has rendered the violations of sanctions by the UN and the EU as a criminal offence since 2016.

However, Savvides stated that criminal convictions over sanction violations are difficult, noting that in some cases there are premises supporting bringing them before the Courts.

On his part the Police Chief, Stelios Papatheodorou said that Cypriot banking institutions have frozen the accounts of persons being investigated by the Police.

Constantinos Herodotou, President of the Central Bank of Cyprus recalled that the Cyprus banking sector in the last five years has terminated relationships with 42,728 shell companies, closing 125,872 bank accounts.

He added that the CBC anti-money laundering staff has imposed fines amounting to €10 million in 13 investigated cases.

Herodotou said that the CBC awaits information as to whether banking institutions are involved with persons said to have violated sanctions by the “Cyprus confidential” reports.

Furthermore, he also supported the idea over the creation of a single financial conduct oversight authority.

Michalis Vorkas, President of the Cyprus Bar Association has carried 177 checks of law firms since 2022 of which 17 cases concerning the provision of the Cypriot citizenship, while 62 checks were carried out in 2023, while fines amounting to €400,000 have been imposed.

Kyriakos Iordanou, Director of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus (ICPAC) said the institute has revoked the license of three accounting offices and of one natural person who were included in the UK sanctions list

He added that ICPAC has submitted ten cases to the Police for further investigation.

Cyprus  |  finance  |  government  |  economy

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