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Cyprus Freezes €1.2 Billion in Russian-Owned Assets Amid Ukraine-Related Sanctions

NICOSIA – In response to sanctions imposed on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, the Finance Ministry of Cyprus has confirmed that approximately €1.2 billion ($1.3 billion) worth of Russian-owned assets, managed by Cyprus-registered companies, have been frozen. The ministry emphasized that the majority of these assets were held in credit institutions within the European Union. This sum is in addition to the €105 million already frozen by Cypriot banks.

The Finance Ministry’s statement comes in light of remarks made by European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, who had previously suggested that Cyprus was lagging behind in freezing Russian-owned assets. While other EU member states had reportedly frozen assets amounting to €2-4 billion, Cyprus had initially reported a comparatively lower sum of around €100 million. However, the ministry clarified that this discrepancy was due to incomplete information provided to the European Commission, which has since been rectified by updating the relevant database.

Taking proactive measures, the Cypriot government is now strengthening its supervisory capabilities to ensure compliance with international sanctions. It plans to establish a specialized unit modeled after the United Kingdom’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI), as confirmed by the Finance Ministry.

Furthermore, the Cyprus government is eager to participate in a European Commission program aimed at facilitating the effective and consistent implementation of sanctions.

By: Menelaos Hadjicostis, Associated Press

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