February 13, 2020

MONEYVAL publishes Cyprus AML Deficiencies

On February 2, 2020, the Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (MONEYVAL), a permanent monitoring body of the Council of Europe tasked with overseeing anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing compliance, released a report calling on The Republic of Cyprus to increase efforts to curb the laundering of criminal proceeds generated outside of the country.  According to the report, the laundering problem is due largely to the 2013 Cyprus Investment Programme, which offers citizenship and a European Union passport to foreigners in exchange for the investment of €2 million ($2.2 million) in Cyprus real estate.  MONEYFAL concluded that the risks from the CIP had not been “assessed comprehensively,” and the risk of laundered funds in the Cyprus real estate sector had increased exponentially.  The organization suggested closer supervision of the real estate industry and more preventative measures for real estate agents and corporate service providers in general.  They also expressed concerns with Cyprus’ inability to freeze and seize foreign funds on its own initiative, even though authorities in the country have been helpful in assisting other countries in these efforts.  MONEYVAL did credit Cyprus’ record of handling domestic investigations of money laundering, and recognized the efforts of the Central Bank of Cyprus to establish supervisory practices to mitigate risk for the banking sector. 

MONEYVAL’s Cyprus Report