Cypriot Money Laundering Reforms Driving Away Russian Money

January 11, 2019

NICOSIA – Fighting a reputation as a money haven for tax cheats and criminals, new anti-money laundering regulations are working on Cyprus but led wealthy Russians to pull their money with foreign deposits falling some two-thirds, the financial news agency Bloomberg said.

The value of bank accounts held by foreign nationals from outside the Eurozone plummeted from 21.5 billion euros ($24.78 billion) to 7.1 billion euros ($8.18 billion) at the end of November, 2017, the Central Bank of Cyprus reported.

The regulations, along with US sanctions against Russia and high-profile businessmen are having an affect, but costly to Cypriot banks who nearly went under in 2013 with bad loans to Greek businesses and big holdings in Greek bonds that were devalued 74 percent.

That led then newly-elected President Nicos Anastasiades to seek a 10-billion euro ($11.53 billion) international bailout and renege on promises, authorizing banks to confiscate accounts over 100,000 euros ($115,270), which hit many wealthy foreigners hiding their money but also the life savings of many Cypriots and small businesses.

“Russians are downsizing in Cyprus,” said Kyriakos Iordanou, General Manager of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus.

Bloomberg reported that the En+ Group plans to move to Russia from Jersey rather than to Cyprus as previously planned. En+ is the main shareholder of aluminum giant United Co. Rusal, a company of billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who is on the US sanctions list.

Accounts belonging to Viktor Vekselberg, who’s also on the US list and whose Renova Group is the largest shareholder in Bank of Cyprus, were frozen, according to the bank.

In November, a directive from the Central Bank of Cyprus kicked in, giving lenders less leeway to work with shell companies. That’s making many Russian companies “non-bankable,” said the news agency.

“Amid sanctions and tightening compliance, Cyprus banks prefer not to deal with Russian money and Russian clients, even those who’ve had accounts in Cyprus banks many years,” said Evgeny Kogan, former director of the Center for Protection of Shareholders and Investor Rights of Cypriot Banks set up in 2014. “Russian clients are becoming toxic.”


NICOSIA - As Cyprus has the world's highest number per capita of COVID-19 cases the state  doctors’ union PASYKO said it's happening as the state health services organization OKYPY is deteriorating.

Top Stories


OCEAN, NJ – Rafaella Lambrinos, whose family is from Karpathos originally, spoke with The National Herald about the Adopt a Yiayia and Pappou program she founded at St George Greek Orthodox Church in Ocean, NJ, which connects youth and seniors from her church community through weekly phone conversations.


NEW YORK – Greek-American Trevor Zegras, forward for the Anaheim Ducks is set to play in his first NHL game in New York City against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, March 15, 7 PM.

General News

WASHINGTON, DC – AHEPA deeply mourns the passing of Past Supreme President and co-founder of AHEPA National Housing Corporation (ANHC) Nick Smyrnis.


1 Killed, 8 Hurt as Suspected Gas Explosion Hits Bronx Home

NEW YORK — A suspected gas explosion partially collapsed a home in the Bronx, setting the structure ablaze and killing a woman and injuring eight other people, including five police officers, officials said.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.