A special team from the USA, including members of the FBI and FinCEN, is being sent to Cyprus to assist in the investigation of cases related to Russian influence on the financial structure of the island.
This follows the "Cyprus File" report, which revealed support by Russia for oligarchs and billionaires ahead of the invasion of Ukraine. A team of 24 experts will assist Cypriot authorities in investigating 29 cases.
Meanwhile, the Cypriot government is taking measures against financial crimes, including a ban on transactions in rubles.
Checks are also being conducted at legal and accounting firms in Cyprus for illegal registration of Russian companies. The creation of this team was initiated following a meeting of the Cypriot President with the American Ambassador. The team's goal is to provide expertise and knowledge to their Cypriot counterparts.
The Cypriot government aims to update its supervisory system and successfully complete investigations to avoid money laundering accusations and strengthen Cyprus's reputation as a reliable investment destination.
The investigation covers corruption, evasion of sanctions, protection of Russian capital, ties with Russia, the role of the banking sector and independent institutions, and the well-documented "golden passports" scandal.
It is claimed that financial intermediaries in Cyprus, including PwC, attempted to stay ahead of impending sanctions.
Previously, the Cypriot authorities announced the end of the citizenship-for-investment program effective November 1, 2020. This decision, published on October 13 in the official Twitter account of President Nikos Anastasiades, was made due to identified shortcomings and abuses within the program.
The Ministers of Finance and Interior presented a proposal for the program's cancellation, highlighting its problems and abuses. After the conclusion of an investigation led by the Attorney General and the publication of its results, the Cypriot government intends to consider alternative ways of attracting foreign investments, including the possibility of creating a new program.