Blamed for years as a major tax haven and place for criminals to hide and launder money, a $230 billion dirty money scandal at Danske Bank – and other major European Union banks – showed the problem is more widespread.
That was the assessment of Marios Scandalis, President of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus (ICPAC,) who told INSIDER that the Danish bank’s disrepute over the affair is the best argument against critics of Cyprus.
The island has been trying to shake its image, even as the government is being criticized for the sale of Golden Visas to rich foreign investors for not properly vetting them to weed out criminals and money launderers.
Indeed, Cyprus has been actively portraying itself as among the most credible states in terms of safety measures aiming to combat suspicious money laundering, although a report by Moody’s said 9% of suspicious payments, that is about €18 billion, came from shell companies registered in Cyprus tied to the growing Danske Bank scandal.
Scandalis said that Cyprus and its financial sector operate one of the most credible supervision systems in fighting money laundering as the phenomenon seems unstoppable worldwide.
“It is about time that all those who so easily accuse and slam Cyprus to do their own self-criticism and also realise that there is a post-2015 era. Cyprus got to understand, in the most vicious and unjust way back in 2013, that there is no other path than that of transparency and integrity as far as the economy goes,” he added.