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Cyprus has made ‘enormous progress’ on money-laundering clampdown

US Department of Treasury Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing Marshall Billingslea with Finance Minister Harris Georgiades (right) Photo: CNA

US Department of Treasury Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing Marshall Billingslea on Friday praised Cyprus’ “enormous progress” on issues relating to anti-money laundering (AML).

Billingslea who is visiting Cyprus, met with Finance Minister Harris Georgiades, a visit described as part of the US’ scrutiny over the island’s financial sector.  Georgiades pointed out the two countries and the EU were promoting a common agenda on issues of AML and Counter Terrorism Financing.

Billingslea met earlier with Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides and Central Bank Governor Constantinos Herodotou.

“The work done by the government on anti-money laundering front, on the portfolio of topics has been outstanding,” Billingslea said during joint statements with Georgiades.

“There has been enormous progress and improvements made in the different laws and regulations and enforcement authorities.”

Noting that both he and the US Department of the reasury have “a very close working relations” with Cyprus, Billingslea said “we greatly value the close partnership that with you and your ministry and we look forwards to keeping that relationship and intensifying that relationship in the days ahead.”

On his part, Georgiades said this was his third meeting the Billingslea which shows “how close substantial our cooperation is developing.”

Noting that the two countries enjoy excellent political relations with the US, the Cypriot minister said “we should do more, we can do more in expanding economic and financial ties and this has been the main focus of our discussions.”

“We also know that we face common challenges, global challenges AML and countering terrorism financing, is a major preoccupation for both of our governments is a major preoccupation for the EU for the US and for us and on these issues also we have a very strong collaboration promoting a common agenda,” he added.

Concluding, Georgiades said he and Billinglsea discussed on specific proposals over maintaining and expanding contacts with the US authorities and on how they could “work even more effectively together.”

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