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30 May, 2024
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Cyprus gears up for ICIJ bombshell on Russian ties

Government prepares for shockwaves from ICIJ investigation

Pavlos Neophytos

The government is on high alert due to the announcement of a documentary by the ICIJ on the Cypriot Investment Program and its relations with Russian oligarchs.

The presidential office was already aware last Friday when the consortium of 280 journalists from 38 media outlets, working for eight months on the investigation, contacted them. Since then, after President Christodoulides was informed, a special team has been dedicated to meetings, coordination, and preparations to be ready for the documentary's release.

The aim is to provide necessary answers, declare intentions for action, and give immediate instructions to relevant bodies to examine issues raised by the journalist team.

"The content of the documentary remains unknown to the government," stated Irene Piki, Undersecretary of State for the Presidency, to Alpha on Monday. She mentioned that a general statement has been requested from the Presidency regarding the measures taken to handle possible incidents.

A comprehensive response has been prepared, outlining actions taken since the decision in June on sanctions and their implementation. A meeting was held last week under the President to review the implementation of actions included in sanctions.

The ICIJ consortium, in a post on social media, hinted at the revelations in the investigation titled "Cyprus Confidential." They claim financial secrets regarding the "little island in the Mediterranean," Cyprus, will be exposed. The investigation is expected to reveal data on Cyprus's role in Russian wealth trafficking, emphasizing Russian influence and potentially addressing the issue of 'Golden Passports.'

Ms. Piki referred to "isolated cases that hurt the name of the country" and emphasized the government's "zero tolerance" policy. She assured that any issues arising from the publications would be investigated by relevant bodies.

The Deputy Minister of State mentioned that the government is in contact with British experts to establish a single supervisory authority. "A single sanction unit will be set up in the Ministry of Finance, and they will give us recommendations," she stated.

It's noteworthy that following the CIJ's intention to publish the documentary, both the Cyprus Bar Association, through its new president, Michalis Vorka, and the Association of Certified Public Accountants, through its director general, Marios Iordanous, publicly called for the need to establish a single supervisory authority. They aligned with the government's motto of "zero tolerance."

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

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