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Cyprus and the United States sign up to tackle financial crime together

Author: Niall Hearty  4 April 2024

Niall Hearty of Rahman Ravelli outlines the agreement between the two nations.

The United States and Cyprus are to formalise their combined efforts to tackle money laundering, sanctions evasion and other forms of financial crime.

An agreement is to be signed that will see law enforcement authorities in Cyprus offered the benefit of US expertise.

The agreement between the FBI and Cypriot police will include measures relating to the US Department of Justice (DOJ) offering help to detect, investigate and prosecute cases involving financial crimes in Cyprus.

Last year saw the Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides invite FBI and DOJ officials to assist with investigations into allegations that Cypriot financial service providers had helped Russian oligarchs evade international sanctions. This followed revelations coordinated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which detailed how Cyprus was playing an even bigger than expected role in laundering money for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s autocratic regime and other dictators.

Cyprus has emphasised its compliance with sanctions imposed on Russia after the 2022 invasion of Ukraine. But US authorities have targeted a number of Cyprus-based companies, lawyers and accountants that are suspected of having helped Russians dodge the impact of sanctions.

The US-Cyprus agreement will also involve the US State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, the Cyprus Law Office of the Republic and the Cypriot Finance Intelligence Unit, known as MOKAS.

Given the prevalence of dirty money from Russia being moved through Cyprus, this agreement is not a surprise. It is particularly understandable given that Cyprus is an island fairly close to the Middle East. With reports of there being over 650 companies and trusts in Cyprus serving as mother companies of Russian holdings, subsidiaries of Russian conglomerates and opaque entities concealing investments based there, the US commitment is a logical reaction.

The US has formalised relations with dozens of other countries to work together in tackling money laundering, sanctions and other financial crime; including the likes of the UK, Australia, Brazil and a host of European nations.

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Niall has a wealth of corporate crime expertise and an ability to coordinate global bribery and corruption cases. His achievements in such investigations have made him a logical choice for corporate clients.

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