The Cyprus Mail on 20th May published an opinion piece saying that Cyprus was paid a visit by the US Treasury Department’s Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing, who met the Finance Minister, Foreign Minister and Governor of the Central Bank and discussed “the positive improvements and reforms that Cyprus has made in its anti-money laundering regulations and regulatory oversights,” with the officials and “explored areas where the US and Cyprus can continue to partner to fight threats to the international financial sector”.  A statement claimed that the US was encouraged by the commitments made by Cypriot officials today and will continue to work together to combat and corruption, money laundering and other financial threats.  The article suggested that problem was the Russian businessmen that make up the main clientele of auditing firms and law firms and are granted citizenship when they buy an expensive property.  At the same time, the Cyprus Bar Association and the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus (ICPAC) issued circulars to their members advising them to be more diligent in scrutinising the activities of their clients, applying AML regulations properly and avoiding doing any business with individuals or businesses on the US sanctions lists.  The Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission also issued a similar statement warning the entities it supervises to have cognisance of the US sanctions list.  The article says that it is very clear the US turned the screw on the Cyprus authorities, which are now desperate to show that they are following the US ‘advice’.  The article also comments that the citizenship by investment scheme, although a big boost to the economy, has only made matters worse as it has attracted wealthy Russians of interest to the US authorities.

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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