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Cabinet ratifies police and FBI cooperation

sanctions

Cabinet on Wednesday rubberstamped a memorandum of cooperation between Cyprus’ police and the FBI (US Federal Bureau of Investigation), describing it as a significant development.

A justice ministry announcement said the cooperation will strengthen Cyprus’ law enforcement with expertise to combat money laundering. The FBI will assist in investigations on possible sanctions violations, money laundering and corruption.

According to the ministry, the memorandum institutionalises closer cooperation between Cyprus and the US “in efforts to combat money laundering and to effectively investigate cases involving financial crime and, by extension, prosecute those involved in them.”

It will also strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries, the ministry specified.

The memorandum “reflects the efforts of the government and especially the will and determination of the President of the Republic himself to further strengthen the capabilities of the country’s law enforcement authorities to tackle illegal financial activities as well as detect and prosecute financial crime.”

As part of the agreement, cooperation between law enforcement authorities of both Cyprus and the US will be strengthened in areas of information exchange, and knowledge on issues of investigative methodology, tactics and techniques related to financial investigations, while ensuring the basic principle of confidentiality of such information.

“The signing of the memorandum is, on the one hand, an important development in further strengthening the bilateral relations between Cyprus and the US and, on the other hand, in further strengthening the Cypriot law enforcement authorities with the necessary expertise and know-how to proactively be able to identify, investigate and prosecute cases involving financial crimes related to Cyprus,” the statement concluded.

It will include cooperation between the attorney general’s office and the finance intelligence unit (Mokas).

The development was announced last week, with a joint US embassy of Nicosia and government announcement specifying the request came at the behest of President Nikos Christodoulides.

Stakeholders told the Cyprus Mail the cooperation could go a long way in helping Cyprus clear its reputation, however there were concerns of pushbacks from ‘powerful lobbies’ with conflicts of interest.

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