Police in Limassol announced on Friday they had arrested two people on Thursday for suspected money laundering.

Both were remanded in custody for seven days on Friday. One, aged 41, is accused of having set up the business. He denied all charges, insisting the money belongs to him and that it was required through legitimate means.

He also said he felt “discomfort” and asked to be transferred to a private clinic for treatment.

The other, aged 34, was accused of having a more limited role.

Police said they had placed a property in the city under surveillance after it had been alleged that financial crimes were being carried out inside.

At around noon on Thursday, a car pulled up outside the property and a man got into its passenger side, before police pounced to question both people in the car.

The driver was a 33-year-old man, and the passenger was a 34-year-old man. Both are third country nationals.

A search of the passenger found a total of 17 envelopes full of cash inside a bag he was carrying, with the amount of cash in the envelopes totalling €161,425. He was arrested.

Police then discovered a 41-year-old inside the property, who claimed to be its partial owner. He and the driver of the car were both summoned by police for questioning.

A subsequent search of the property turned up a total of €706,300, $22,539, and £1,375 all in cash, as well as two banknote counting machines and a number of empty envelopes. They then arrested the 41-year-old.

In a search of the 34-year-old’s house, police found a total of €815 in cash as well as multiple mobile phones and empty envelopes. He was also subsequently arrested.

Limassol police’s financial crime investigation unit is continuing its investigation into the matter.

Later on Friday, Politis said those arrested had been linked to a “multi-million-euro money laundering business” which consisted of a gallery, 20 restaurants, and other property purchases.

They described the case as one of “enormous proportions”, with the building searched by police on Thursday evening having allegedly “functioned as a showcase for people who wanted to launder money in Limassol.”

Police had been tipped off about a potential money laundering organisation as early as March 11. They were informed that the property’s 41-year-old owner was “receiving large sums of money from big businessmen and returning corresponding sums in cash after first keeping a significant proportion as commission.”

The company apparently used a “special van” to visit customers who did not want to visit the property. There was a banknote counting machine inside the van, as well as a “special crew” which included a security guard and a teller.

All those involved are reportedly Russian nationals, while the 41-year-old’s restaurants are apparently co-owned in conjunction with an as-yet-unnamed Cypriot businessman.