THE CABINET on Tuesday approved bills that will strengthen the island’s anti-money laundering (AML) framework further and increase financial transparency.
One of the bills concerns the creation of a registry of trust registries, which will be kept by the relevant supervisory authorities.
“It is an important bill because it conveys the message that Cyprus is a healthy financial centre,” government spokesman Christos Stylianides said.
Prior to the decision to bail Cyprus out, the island received a lot of bad publicity, mainly in the German media, regarding its money laundering record.
Cyprus continues to deny the money-laundering charges, which faded after the EU decided to raid uninsured deposits to recapitalize the Bank of Cyprus.
A second bill gets rid of an article in the trust law that exempts international trusts from registering.
The bills are part of Cyprus’ bailout agreement and would have to be approved by parliament by September 11 – before the release of the second tranche of financial assistance.
According to the memorandum of understanding agreed between Cyprus and international lenders, “Cypriot authorities have committed to revise the legal framework so that adequate, accurate and timely information on the beneficial ownership of Cypriot legal persons and arrangements can be provided to foreign counterparts in response to requests related to money laundering and tax matters.”