News Column

Cyprus Says Money Laundering Allegations Must Stop

Jan. 23, 2013

Cyprus on Wednesday insisted that it has conformed to EU rules on transparency and money laundering and allegations to the contrary must stop.

Cypriot government spokesperson Stefanos Stefanou said Cyprus has already received a very good evaluation for adopting and implementing anti-money laundering laws, both from the European Council in 2011 and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last year.

Speaking to journalists, Stefanou said the eastern Mediterranean island, which has recently come under fire from Germany as being a haven for money laundering for Russian oligarchs, has never refused international inspections of its banking sector.

"The willingness and actions from Cyprus on the issue of its fight to combat money laundering are obvious and the war that is being carried out against it must stop," he said.

Nicosia in currently negotiating a bailout of as much as 17 billion euros (22.6 billion euros) with the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF.

Cyprus saw its economy thrown off kilter by the collapse of the Greek economy and the bailout is meant to rescue its banks which have taken enormous losses on bad Greek debt investments.

Cyprus first indicated its intention to seek an international bailout in June 2012, but the EU's only communist government has balked at many of the privatization measures that have been made a condition of international aid.

It also has to convince potential donors that concerns over money-laundering are unfounded following reports that Russian oligarchs, mafia and corrupt officials have stowed 26 billion dollars in Cyprus.

No decision on a bailout is likely to be taken under the present government, which faces elections on February 17.

Government officials have said that Cyprus could stay financially afloat until March, but said the situation would be "very difficult" if it did not then receive help from its eurozone partners.

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

Story Tools Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters