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Cyprus and Russia look to improve crime fighting cooperation

Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou

Cyprus and Russia are looking to improve cooperation between crime-fighting and judicial authorities by appointing liaisons that would help expedite procedures, Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou said on Tuesday.

Speaking after a meeting with Russia’s Prosecutor-general Yuri Yakovlevich Chaika, Nicolaou said the two sides recognised the current high level of cooperation.

“We have responded to a large number of judicial assistance requests and the Russian Federation has also responded to a high degree to our requests,” Nicolaou said.

The minister added that the two countries were trying to improve the procedures even further, in a more practical way, by meeting requests within a timeframe that would not cause delays to the investigations.

To this end, the two sides agreed to each appoint a liaison to handle such matters and exchange the necessary information in a bid to expedite procedures.

Cyprus and Russia plan to sign a memorandum to establish the conditions of the cooperation, the minister said.

The Russian prosecutor-general said mechanisms of improving cooperation between the two countries’ authorities had been discussed “and we have decided to appoint people to exchange information in order to have immediate response in executing various requests.”

“The dialogue today was very professional, including various issues,” Chaika said, speaking through an interpreter.
Chaika said compromises had been achieved on some issues “because there are always disagreements or some misunderstandings maybe.”

“We have resolved all the issues, we have examined some matters and made proposals relating to the mechanism of examining and investigating various criminal cases in which Russian citizens are suspects,” he said. “We tried finding solutions so that these suspects did not avoid responsibility.”

Also present at the meeting was Attorney-general Costas Clerides who had held a meeting with Chaika on Monday.

“We discussed all the problems that could come up in the procedure (judicial assistance request) and found ways so that pending requests… are executed,” Clerides said.

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