Cyprus has imposed sanctions on individuals named by the United States and the UK, as they help Russian oligarchs circumvent the sanctions imposed on Moscow over the war in Ukraine.
Cyprus’ Financial Commissioner Pavlos Ioannou has told state broadcaster Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation that the individuals and entities’ assets were frozen.
“The banks couldn’t help but take the measures they took… and the government also acted wisely, ” Ioannou said.
Cyprus’ Greek-language daily Filefteros reported that the island’s largest lender, the Bank of Cyprus, also “notified 4,000 customers who have Russian passports and are not residents of EU countries that their accounts will be closed.”
The island in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea is home to a large Russian diaspora. Limassol, located on the southern coast and often called “Moscow on the Mediterranean”, has long been a magnet for Russian speakers.
Britain and the United States have imposed sanctions on citizens and companies in Cyprus for allegedly helping Russian oligarchs hide their assets after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.
Government spokesman Konstantinos Letimbiotis said this week that Nicosia was ready to bring to justice all Cypriots whom the United States and Great Britain accused of helping oligarchs circumvent sanctions imposed because of the war.
According to him, President Nikos Christodoulides contacted the United States and the United Kingdom in search of evidence against these individuals so that their cases could be investigated at home.
Konstantinos Herodotus, Head of the Central Bank of Cyprus, told the president this week that Cypriot banks have frozen the accounts of 13 individuals and some Cypriot companies.
He said authorities had closed 43,000 shell companies and 123,000 “suspicious” bank accounts in recent years.
According to him, only 2.2 per cent of all bank deposits on the island now belong to Russians.
April 23, 2023 Published by The Pravda News.