Cyprus is gearing up to go into damage control mode to salvage its international reputation after a dozen locals have been sanctioned for being “financial fixers” to Russian oligarchs.

“I fear this is the tip of the iceberg, that more decisions may come in for other law offices,” Chairman of the Cyprus bar association Christos Clerides told AlphaNews.

“This is unprecedented. A new policy aiming to strike property management systems of banned persons close to Putin.”

Last week, the US and UK imposed sanctions on a number of people across the globe, including 10 Cypriot-born individuals and 13 Cypriot passport holders with multiple nationalities – mostly Russian.

Lawyer Christodoulos Vassiliades, who was the only Cypriot on both the US and UK sanction lists ardently denies he “knowingly assisted” sanctioned Russian oligarchs Roman Abramovich and Alisher Usmanov to hide their assets in complex financial networks.

He told AlphaNews he is in constant communication with his lawyers in London to try and overturn the decision.

Though the Easter holidays followed the sanctions announcements, stakeholders are set to begin meetings this week to evaluate what can be done. Clerides is set to undertake the initiative to hold a meeting with the association of certified public accountants.

The attorney general has also been tasked with evaluating all the evidence surrounding the sanctions.

“There will be announcements as soon as the legal service does all the preliminary work,” government spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis said.

“The Republic of Cyprus remains committed to our strategic relationship, and to this end will continue to be in constant communication and coordination with the US.”

The US sanctioned 18 Cypriot-based companies and the UK sanctioned two firms with Cypriot links: Meritservus HC in Limassol and SCF Management Services, a subsidiary of Sovcomflot based in Russia.

Cyprus’ stance so far has been to call the matter “especially serious” but maintain the country’s legal framework is to adopt only EU and UN sanctions – implying Cyprus is not immediately moving to sanction the named individuals.

Banks on the other hand, were quick to comply with the US and UK sanctions and moved to freeze any accounts of the sanctioned individuals. The Central Bank of Cyprus explained that in cases where measures are taken “unilaterally by other countries”, banks evaluate any affected business relationships and take relevant decisions on the basis of their policies.