California Congresswoman Maxine Waters is on summer recess trip to Europe with a US special delegation on a mission meeting with officials in Switzerland and Cyprus.
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Waters left Geneva with some doubts before heading to Cyprus, where she was scheduled to hold meetings between Tuesday and Thursday
Waters’ exploratory delegation during the summer recess is understood to have been coordinated in part by the Swiss and Cypriot governments. Media observers speculated that Waters’ trip may be centered around concerns over Facebook’s decision to domicile its Libra cryptocurrency project in Switzerland, a nation often entangled in reports associated with both progressive financial policies and money-laundering.
According to Reuters, Waters left Geneva with some doubts before heading to Cyprus. US lawmakers pointed fingers at Facebook over its plans at a hearing of Waters’ committee in July, saying the company had not shown it could be trusted with the world’s financial system and consumers’ information.
“While I appreciate the time that the Swiss government officials took to meet with us, my concerns remain with allowing a large tech company to create a privately controlled, alternative global currency. I look forward to continuing our Congressional delegation, examining these issues, money laundering, and other matters within the Committee’s jurisdiction,” Waters said through an official statement on Sunday.
Focus on Cyprus
The Chairwoman, who vowed last year to scrutinize ties between President Trump and Deutsche Bank as well as Bank of Cyprus, was also scheduled to visit the island this week between Tuesday and Thursday to conduct official visits.
The visit, which was planned in advance, comes in the aftermath of a story published online by Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, which claimed that leaked bank documents raised questions about dealings between the Cypriot president’s former law firm, his associates, and Russian financial networks used for criminal activity.
The law firm fired back accusing OCCRP of publishing inaccurate statements and falsities, insisting that the company did not break any laws.
According to Cyprus News Agency, the delegation headed by Waters, who chairs the US House Financial Services Committee, was to take place in Nicosia between August 27-29, where Waters and five other members would meet Finance Minister Harris Georgiades, Central Bank of Cyprus Governor Constantinos Herodotou, Chairwoman of the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission, Demetra Kalogirou, and Head of the Unit for Combating Money Laundering (MOKAS) Eva Papakyriakou.
No further details were made available about the visit, which takes place one year after Waters announced plans to go on a money trail and conduct hearings into connections between US President Donald Trump and two foreign financial institutions, Deutsche Bank and Bank of Cyprus.
Deutsche Bank, Trump’s largest creditor, has been fined by US and UK government agencies for failing to prevent money laundering, while the bank’s former CEO, Josef Ackermann, later became chairman at the Bank of Cyprus.
According to Politico, Deutsche Bank previously confirmed it had received an inquiry from the House Financial Services and Intelligence committees and said it was "engaged in a productive dialogue" to determine how to assist them.
Waters, who became Chairwoman after last year’s election, has also been prodding Citigroup to raise the minimum wage, with the firm’s CEO Michael Corbat replying to the congresswoman recently to let her know that a move to $15 an hour had taken effect on June 1. While big banks in the US employ large numbers of staff, Citi carries out most of its business overseas.
The congresswoman has also been supporting a push for impeachment of President Trump. In a recent interview on MSNBC, the congresswoman said “as a chair of the Financial Services Committee, I'm going to do the investigations.”
But according to media reports, some moderate Democrats fear oversight investigations might be a distraction or cause political damage to the party.