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Mokas says nothing to investigate in latest OCCRP report

Presidential Palace 011
File Photo: President Nicos Anastasiades

The anti-money laundering unit (Mokas) said Wednesday there was nothing to investigate in relation with potential dealings between President Nicos Anastasiades and a Saudi businessman – one of whose wives secured a Cypriot passport via the citizenship-by-investment scheme.

The unit was responding to a report by the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) on Saudi businessman Abdulrahman bin Khalid bin Mahfouz, whose jet Anastasiades had used twice to fly to the Seychelles.

The Saudi’s second wife was issued a Cypriot passport in August 2015, and just days after Anastasiades flew, to the Seychelles aboard the jet – a trip for which Anastasiades has said he paid out of pocket.

In a statement, Mokas said there was nothing the unit could investigate as part of its remit. The unit said the matter concerned taxation matters, a position explained before the House watchdog committee in February 2020.

Mokas suggested the OCCRP had not been correctly informed regarding the subject of the committee meeting, whose details could be found in the minutes.

In its statement on Tuesday, the presidency said the OCCRP report simply rehashed matters that have already been dealt with by an inquiry into the citizenship by investment programme and by a panel chaired by the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“The findings of both these committees refute the report and raise questions as to what purpose the report serves at this time,” it read.

The statement pointed out that, as the OCCRP itself states, “there exists no evidence linking the president to the Saudi’s dealings on the island.”

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