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‘Govt not taking oversight authority seriously’

sanctions

The Cyprus Bar Association on Friday slammed the government’s approach on creating an oversight authority, accusing it of lacking any ounce of seriousness.

The damning statement came after a presentation at the finance ministry on the increasingly controversial oversight authority, which was approved by cabinet last month.

It aims to “clear the country’s name” after a slew of sanctions, the Cyprus Confidential reports, and the country’s lingering stain of money laundering.

According to the bar association, the framework carries legal issues and accused the finance ministry of failing to properly evaluate and present to the cabinet “important matters.”

“As a result, there are serious weaknesses in implementing this decision,” it specified.

Stakeholders invited to the presentation included the accountant’s association (Selk), bar association (CBA), the anti-money laundering unit (Mokas), fiduciary association (Cyfa) and Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC).

‘Wrong document’

Seeking to drive the point home, the CBA claimed that the ministry sent stakeholders the wrong document over the material surrounding the plans for the new authority.

“Unfortunately, it appears that the finance ministry is not approaching this with due seriousness.”

In its statement, the CBA specified it disagreed with the existing framework, as did numerous other stakeholders.

It underlined that after a two-hour discussion, it became clear that CySEC will not be tasked with carrying out oversight on 50 of the biggest service industry firms or high-risk companies, as was previously understood.

When announcing the authority’s creation, Finance Minister Makis Keravnos explained the body will be headed by CySEC and will carry out checks jointly with the CBA and Selk.

The CBA called on the president and cabinet “for the umpteenth time, to re-consider their decisions, and seek out responsibility for the total lack of seriousness, as evidenced by the above,”

One of the biggest points of contention the CBA has aired is that CySEC’s involvement breaches client confidentiality. It has argued the CBA is the designated-by-law authority tasked with oversight on its members.

The association denied accusations its reticence is linked to ulterior motives.

Selk previously criticised the ministry for not consulting with them before creating the framework, which has now been tabled to parliament.

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