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Cyprus

‘North shows zero tolerance to organised crime’

Unal Ustel, Ünal üstel
File photo: Unal Ustel

The north’s ‘prime minister’ Unal Ustel said on Thursday the north shows “zero tolerance” to organised crime.

Ustel issued a written statement, in which he said “we are continuing with the expulsions of those who are affiliated with criminal organisations and which to take shelter in our country. In the fight against crime and criminals, we always have and will continue to base ourselves on the principle of zero tolerance.”

“Dozens of people who have been found to be involved in any criminal organisation have been banned from entering our country … Many names listed on the [Interpol] red wanted list have been identified and returned to their countries. Among these countries are Turkey, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Russia,” he added.

He also said the north’s banking system and anti-money laundering efforts are both carried out in line with generally accepted banking principles.

“Our banks fully comply with the relevant regulations and do not allow for relations with prohibited countries, persons, or institutions.”

He added that he has introduced new ‘legislation’ to ‘parliament’ regarding money laundering, which has been prepared in accordance with the latest European Union directives.

The ‘draft bill’ is currently being discussed by the relevant ‘parliamentary committee’, with Utel hoping it will be passed this year.

He added people linking the north to organised crime are conducting a smear campaign.

“You can criticise me as prime minister. I have no objection to this. However, to ignore the anti-crime and anti-criminal work we have been carrying out for a long time, making our country the subject of a smear campaign, is not something I will accept,” he said.

He added that presenting the ‘TRNC’ in any other manner is an injustice to the people and ‘institutions’.

He said the ‘legal system’ is trusted by the international community, and that the statements made, the organised smear campaigns, and the words of the Greek Cypriot lobby are all overlapping.

Ustel comment on the Greek Cypriot lobby in statements on Tuesday, where he said they [the lobby] was trying to harm the north’s real estate market.

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