Letter: Cypriot banks' money laundering checks

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The Independent Online
Sir: In his article 'Moscow's mafia finds an island in the sun' (3 August), Robert Fisk reports allegations that there has been extensive laundering of Russian money in Cyprus, deriving from the illicit arms trade.

The Central Bank of Cyprus requires all banks in Cyprus to report, on a monthly basis, the number of transactions involving deposits in cash of dollars US10,000 or more (or its equivalent in other foreign currencies), the total number of accounts affected and the total amount of such deposits added together.

The reports regarding the magnitude of cash deposits by Russians in Cyprus are incompatible with the information that the central bank has in its possession. The evidence regarding the acquisition of immovable property by Russians in Cyprus is also incompatible with the information in your article.

We are doing everything possible to ensure that money laundering is effectively prevented. The problem, as you know, is one faced by many financial centres. In the past two years, the British press has referred to enormous amounts of money finding its way on to the London money and property markets and into Swiss bank accounts.

Yours faithfully,

A. J. PHILIPPOU

Chief Senior Manager

Banking Supervision and

Regulation Division

Central Bank of Cyprus

Nicosia

18 August

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