Cyprus Mail

US sanctions official visits Cyprus (Updated)

erik woodhouse, sanctions
Erik Woodhouse

A US Department of State official tasked with overseeing sanctions implementation is on a two-day official visit to Cyprus, it emerged on Thursday.

Erik Woodhouse, deputy assistant secretary for the division for counter threat finance and sanctions is here to meet with members of the government and investment-related stakeholders.

Head of the president’s press office Victoras Papadopoulos said the meeting is taking place as part of the close cooperation between the US and Cyprus.

Speaking to the state broadcaster, he reiterated the goal is not to repeat “phenomena of the past” and to protect Cyprus’ reputation, so as to continue to attract foreign investments.

Later in the day, Woodhouse held a meeting at the presidential palace with senior members of the government – the Undersecretary to the President Irini Piki and the head of the president’s diplomatic office Marilena Raouna.

The visiting US official was briefed on the “actions taken by the government of Cyprus, under the instructions of President Nikos Christodoulides, regarding implementation of the sanctions imposed on Russia, pursuant to the relevant decision by the cabinet.”

Also attending the meeting was US Ambassador to Cyprus Julie Fisher.

The Cypriot officials also briefed Woodhouse on the government’s “ongoing plans relating to this issue, given its determination to fully implement the sanctions against both legal entities and individuals,” the statement added.

Cyprus was hit with a wave of sanctions from the US and UK in April, that brought to light questionable ties with Russian money.

Dozens of individuals and entities were described as “financial fixers” for for “knowingly assisting” sanctioned Russian oligarchs Roman Abramovich and Alisher Usmanov to hide their assets in complex financial networks.

The government immediately went into damage control mode, and President Nikos Christodoulides has since stressed the importance of protecting Cyprus’ reputation abroad.

The press office of Usmanov contacted the Cyprus Mail to deny the claim that he has tried to hide assets. It also denied that he is an oligarch.

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