The Cabinet on Wednesday decided on a series of measures and actions for the coordination on issues related to sanctions, Government Spokesperson Constantinos Letymbiotis announced.
He said that taking into account the persistent challenges we are faced with, the need to demonstrate zero tolerance and the fact that Cyprus is a small and vulnerable economy in which the financial and services sectors have a significant contribution, the goal of safeguarding the country's name as a reliable financial center is crucial.
He said that the Presidency, in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, recommended taking these measures which today were approved by the Cabinet.
The first measure is the appointment of a contact person at the Ministry of Finance who will be responsible for receiving all information from Cypriot and foreign authorities and who will be responsible for the proper dissemination of all information. The spokesperson explained that the aim is through the appointment of a central point of contact, to have a timely provision of information in all directions.
Letymbiotis said that this individual will set specific timetables for the processing of the information and will evaluate recommendations for handling and taking measures. He/she will also be provided with the appropriate support to be able to respond to this task.
The contact person at the finance ministry will be responsible for receiving all information from Cypriot and foreign authorities as well as overseeing proper dissemination of all information
The second measure is related with the signing of an agreement with the University of Cyprus for one year, with the possibility of renewal, in order to support the actions for the implementation of sanctions and restrictive measures in the Cyprus Republic. The researcher responsible for this task is Dr. Andreas Milidonis.
The third measure is the evaluation by the Ministry of Finance in cooperation with other competent authorities and the Law Office, within six months, of any immediate improvements that the legislative framework needs. The work, according to the Spokesperson, will be complementary to the broader work being carried out to establish a national sanctions enforcement unit.
According to Letymbiotis the fourth measure concerns the preparation of a study within 6 months to improve the governance and supervision of companies providing administrative services on the island, both in matters of governance and in matters of combating money laundering and terrorist financing and the establishment of a single supervisory body authority for the companies in question.
He said that this work should take into account the wider supervisory planning underway at European level. For the preparation of the study, which will be coordinated by the Presidency and the FinMin there will be a consultation with the involved bodies, including the Association of Chartered Accountants, the Cyprus Bar Association and the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission.
The fifth measure is the submission of a study by the Ministry of Justice and Public Order and the Cyprus Police, within six months, that assesses the capabilities of law enforcement authorities to investigate and prosecute economic crime within the framework of the island being a financial center.
Letymbiotis told the press that within this context, the study should identify any deficiencies either in personnel, or in other means or in procedures and recommend relevant solutions. He said that the recommendations of the Moneyval Commission of the Council of Europe, on democracy, should also be taken into account.
The sixth measure is to carry out an information campaign both at home and abroad on issues of corruption and compliance with the framework for restrictive measures and sanctions in Cyprus and the seventh measure is to carry out a promotion campaign for rebranding Cyprus, in collaboration with professional associations and other bodies.
The Spokesperson said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will inform the Embassies of these decisions.
Replying to a question if these steps were taken after coordination with other states or organisations, the Spokesperson said that these are measures taken because Cyprus wants to demonstrate once again its commitment to zero tolerance and in terms of maintaining and safeguarding the good name of our country.
He said that certainly the Ministries of Finance and Foreign Affairs and the Presidency who had the responsibility for the framework on these proposals, have studied best practices of other countries.