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Cyprus

‘Mobsters financing political parties in Cyprus’

Former DISY MP Christos Pourgourides

Mobsters are financing political parties in Cyprus, funnelling to them part of their ill-gotten gains, furloughed politician Christos Pourgourides has claimed.

The former DISY MP made the remarks during a live radio show on Thursday while discussing transparency – or the lack thereof – in party financing.

“It is not just businessmen and big capital that fund parties, but also the criminal underworld makes its contributions,” Pourgourides said.

This included both foreign and Cypriot business people operating out of Cyprus and dealing with cigarette smuggling to Balkan countries, he alleged.

These businessmen, said Pourgourides, give “fat donations” to parties so that they are left alone to carry on their illicit activities

“Nebulous” sources of funding are kept obscured because the beneficiaries [parties] realise the possible repercussions resulting from disclosure.

He said he has provided evidence and names – to whom it was not clear – and has written in publications about the issue, but no one has taken note.

A government bill promoting transparency based on the recommendations of the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption body, the GRECO Commission, was due to be passed before the summer but has seen repeated delays with no adoption date on the cards.

GRECO has long established a set of guidelines to help fight corruption by imposing transparency on the financial backing of parties.

Cyprus was slammed in a 2011 GRECO report for its poor performance in harmonising with the anti-corruption guidelines. The emergence of local group

Transparency Now has led to a rise in public pressure for the government and parties to carry out reform of the system.

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