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24 June, 2024
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Decoding the secrets of 'Confidential' oligarch deals

Are Russian oligarchs pulling strings in Cyprus?

Pavlos Neophytos

Hours before Cyprus faced criticism in the European Parliament for alleged involvement of Cypriot companies in the movement of funds for Russian oligarchs, officials in Nicosia defended their reputation.

In a parliamentary committee, Minister of Justice Anna Koukkidi-Prokopiou and Finance Ministry's George Pantelis downplayed recent reports, claiming the data was not new.

This sparked strong reactions, with concerns raised about the seriousness of the issue. Central Bank Governor Konstantinos Herodotou, disturbed by reports on institutions, presented numerical data to emphasize supervisory control.

The Attorney General mentioned a rise in complaints related to sanctions violations, prompting strengthened police investigation teams. However, criticisms arose regarding delays in case resolutions.

In a tense meeting, the inability to progress investigations and bring individuals to justice was questioned. Cyprus Bar Association's complaint about an oligarch's case, under police investigation since 2023, drew attention. MP Pasiourtidis expressed concerns about the system's lack of efficiency.

Attorney General Savvides defended the complexity of investigating sanctions violations due to intricate corporate networks. He argued that the difficulty lies in identifying ownership in elaborate corporate structures spanning multiple jurisdictions. The nationality of foreign specialists assisting in the investigations was undisclosed, causing curiosity.

The presidency assured that specialists from a foreign country were requested to aid police work, and the creation of a Single Supervisory Authority was emphasized.

Questions regarding the nationality of the experts were met with explanations of ongoing procedures. Justice Minister Koukkidi-Prokopiou pledged a thorough investigation to restore Cyprus's reputation.

The Cyprus Bar Association's president highlighted checks and audits performed, stressing the need to avoid generalizing blame on the legal world.

In summary, the Cyprus government faces scrutiny and internal criticism over allegations of facilitating the movement of funds for Russian oligarchs.

Officials defend their actions, citing ongoing investigations and the complexity of financial networks. The transparency of foreign specialists' involvement and the effectiveness of regulatory bodies are also questioned. The outcome of these developments remains uncertain.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]


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