Cyprus Mail

CBC says no hint found in Panama Papers that Cypriot banks broke AML law

The Central Bank of Cyprus’s investigation into the Panama Papers has offered thus far no indication that Cypriot banks have violated anti-money laundering law, the Cyprus News Agency reported on Thursday without citing its source.

The central bank which requested and received data from banks related to account movements, has almost completed their evaluation, the Cyprus News Agency reported without saying how it got the information.

In case of a breach or non-implementation of directives on money laundering by any institution is identified, the central bank will take measures against delinquent banks, the Cyprus News Agency reported.

The fact that a company whose name is linked to the Panama Papers, maintained accounts with some banks in Cyprus, is not “blameworthy” in itself, an unnamed source told the Cyprus News Agency. Panama Papers is the widely used term to describe the data leaked to the website of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists that concern clients of Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian law firm which allegedly helped companies, politicians, celebrities and criminals evade taxes and launder money by setting up offshore companies.

On April 4th, the Central Bank of Cyprus said that it started with the evaluation of the data in order to determine the extent of the Cypriot banks’ involvement. Three days later, the central bank said that it drafted amendments to the directive on preventing money laundering and terrorist financing after completion of the consultation process with banks operating in Cyprus.

According to the Central Bank, the amendment of the directive is “a part of ongoing efforts to further strengthen the regulatory framework to zero tolerance deficiencies or weaknesses that might lead to opportunities for money laundering and terrorist financing”.

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