Cyprus Mail

US says Cyprus making progress in fight over illegal financial activity

Harris Georgiades: The statements recognise the significant progress, which has been achieved in our country in recent years

Τhe US House financial services committee has said cooperation and coordination with Cypriot authorities in fighting illicit financial activity is beginning to pay off and expressed confidence that the island can achieve further progress.

In a written statement following a bipartisan visit to Cyprus that concluded on Thursday, the head of the committee, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, said she was pleased to see that close cooperation and coordination between the US and Cyprus is “beginning to pay off”.

“And while I would like to see additional progress toward detecting and stopping illicit financial activity, our discussions and meetings with our Cypriot hosts, for which we are grateful, leave us confident that Cyprus is up to the challenge.”

According to the statement, the US Congress, the financial services committee had passed legislation improving the reporting by banks and other financial institutions of suspicious activities to law enforcement, and closing loopholes involving the sale of real estate, arts and antiquities.

“However, transnational criminal organisations and terrorists are also exploiting foreign jurisdictions with weak oversight. Until recently, for example, Russian oligarchs were reported to have laundered the spoils of their political corruption through banks in the Republic of Cyprus.”

During its visit, the committee met with the finance minister, the central bank governor, the head of the securities and exchange commission, the head of the anti-money laundering unit, and representatives from banks and accounting firms.

The focus were the legal and regulatory improvements that have been made over the past few years.

Finance Minister Harris Georgiades expressed satisfaction over the committee’s statements.

“The statements recognise the significant progress, which has been achieved in our country in recent years,” the minister said. “Free from the bad practices of the past, Cyprus is now in a position to cooperate credibly with the international community to tackle the challenges in preventing money laundering.”

Georgiades said recognition of the progress contributes substantively in restoring Cyprus’ reputation.

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