Cyprus president has invited foreign experts to help with Russian sanction evasion investigations

NICOSIA, Cyprus — The president of Cyprus mentioned Monday he personally requested an unnamed “third nation” to ship an skilled workforce of monetary crime consultants to assist the east Mediterranean island nation with investigations into outdated and new allegations that Cypriot monetary service suppliers helped Russian oligarchs skirt worldwide sanctions.

President Nikos Christodoulides instructed The Related Press in an interview that he desires “completely no shadows” forged over the European Union member nation as a result of any adversarial publicity would damage efforts to draw “high quality” international funding.

The president mentioned “many” probes into alleged sanctions evasion are at the moment operating however wouldn’t give particulars.

His request was accepted, and the international consultants will help a workforce of seven police investigators in sifting by outdated and new media stories alleging that Cyprus-based legal professionals and accountants shifted Russian oligarchs’ cash by a murky community of corporations and trusts so as to keep away from their seizure according to sanctions associated to Russia’s warfare in Ukraine.

The most recent allegations got here in a number of tales printed by the Worldwide Consortium of Investigative Journalists final week. They cited leaked paperwork claiming to point out how some Cypriot companies helped Russian oligarchs transfer their cash round to evade sanctions.

Christodoulides mentioned the international consultants would help their counterparts in methods to higher conduct their investigations whereas expediting the method to point out that “Cyprus has zero tolerance for corruption” and bolster the sense domestically that justice is being accomplished.

“Our intention is strictly in order that there are neither insinuations or any shadows forged over our nation’s identify,” he mentioned.

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He mentioned a cornerstone of his drive to rid the island of its ill-gotten status is organising a Single Supervisory Authority, an unbiased physique of monetary crime consultants tasked with cracking down on any monetary malfeasance or sanctions evasion.

A draft regulation has been readied for parliamentary debate and approval.

Christodoulides additionally mentioned extra consultants with a authorized or accounting background shall be employed to strengthen the police’s monetary crimes unit.

He defended Cyprus’ monitor document in efforts to get its banking sector so as since 2013, when the nation wanted a multibillion-euro bailout from its EU companions and the Worldwide Financial Fund to climate a monetary disaster that introduced it to the brink of chapter.

On the time, practically a 3rd of the nation’s 68 billion euros in deposits — greater than triple the whole financial system — was held by Russians, feeding the notion that Cyprus was Moscow’s monetary lackey.

Christodoulides conceded it could take time for Cyprus to rebrand itself as a first-rate funding alternative.

“For me, whichever allegation, both massive or small, is an allegation towards our nation, which I can’t settle for as a result of it negatively impacts our capability to draw non-public funding,” Christodoulides mentioned. He added that international locations from “the broader Center East” have proven curiosity in investing in Cyprus within the fields of vitality, well being providers, training and data expertise.

Within the interview, he additionally mentioned his nation’s proposal for a humanitarian hall to Gaza.

Individually, Christodoulides mentioned U.N. Secretary-Basic Antonio Guterres will very quickly notify the Cypriot authorities of his new selection for an envoy who shall be tasked with exploring the possibility of resuming talks to reunify the ethnically divided nation which have been in stalemate since 2017.

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Guterres’ earlier selection for envoy was reportedly rejected by the chief of the breakaway Turkish Cypriots, Ersin Tatar. Cyprus was break up alongside ethnic strains in 1974 when Turkey invaded within the wake of a coup by supporters of union with Greece.

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