Cyprus Targets Organized Crime

Still stinging from its reputation as a haven for money-laundering international criminals who used its banks to hide their assets, the Cypriot government said it plans to go after organized crime, Minister of Justice and Public Order Ionas Nicolaou said.

Nicolau, presenting an account of the work done in his agency since President Nicos Anastasiades’ took office in March said that it’s going to be difficult given how deeply entrenched criminals are in a country where they have been operating without much interference from the authorities until now. He said organized crime in Cyprus is “multifaceted and multidimensional”.

“No police has found the magic recipe to crack down on organised crime and we do not have a magic wand to do it. Our effort is to reduce its impact in order not to cause fear and insecurity to the citizens” he said, Financial Mirror reported. He said that despite the difficulties that police maintain “constant vigilance” over the matter and its operations have led to “significant results”.

“We are not afraid to face crime and we are willing to show zero tolerance to organized crime,” he said, adding that the olice have prepared action plans and there have been coordinated and sustained operations to combat the most widespread criminal activities related to casinos, electronic gambling and private security companies.

According to the Minister, from May 18, 2013 until October 31, some 190 illegal premises were searched and 173 charges were filed by the Police. During the same period the Police launched 947 operations to search security services.

He admitted that “Police corruption is a problem” but insisted that, “there will be zero tolerance.” He added: “We act decisively without tolerance to anyone who does not respond adequately to their duties and behaves in a way that serves organized crime.”