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14 June, 2024
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Over 100M euros has passed through Cyprus customs

Concerns rise as authorities face questions over oversight and money laundering allegations

Pavlos Neophytos

The Customs Department, along with the MOKAS and the Police, addressed the issue of money laundering controls in the Republic of Cyprus during a session held today by the Parliamentary Institutions Committee. This discussion was prompted by the case involving a 31-year-old Ukrainian woman currently detained in connection with an ongoing investigation into a suspected money laundering scheme.

During the session, Dimitris Demetriou, the chairman of the Committee and DISY MP, disclosed that more than one hundred million euros in cash have been declared and passed through Customs in recent years, based on information available to him.

However, it was noted with concern that the director of the Customs Department failed to attend the session despite being summoned, drawing criticism from committee members. Nevertheless, a representative from the department was present during the meeting.

AKEL MP Irini Charalambidou raised questions about the origin and destination of the money, emphasizing the need for robust monitoring mechanisms. She criticized the agencies' joint statement following the Ukrainian woman's case, describing it as inadequate and lacking accountability.

Independent MP Alexandra Attalidou expressed alarm at the apparent lack of oversight, calling for a comprehensive review of Customs operations. She suggested that either officials are neglecting their duties or they are unaware of the extent of illicit financial activities.

AKEL MP Andreas Pasiourtides echoed concerns about the effectiveness of Customs and called for swift action to address deficiencies in key positions. He emphasized the urgency of the situation and stressed the importance of decisive measures to combat corruption.

Due to ongoing criminal proceedings related to the case, the Legal Department advised caution during the discussion to avoid potential interference. Consequently, the Commission decided to continue the debate in a closed session, allowing journalists to leave.

The Committee on Institutions convened today to examine the institutional framework and efficacy of Cyprus' anti-money laundering institutions. Discussions also revolved around the necessity of cooperation among state agencies to combat corruption and financial crimes effectively.

Cyprus  |  customs  |  economy

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