NICOSIA – The president of Cyprus’ Bar Association, Christos Clerides, urged government officials to refrain from continually reacting to the American and British sanctions targeting wealthy Russians, stating that such responses are exacerbating the situation.
“When I expressed my view that we should avoid overreacting and highlighted the existence of an overreaction, I was accused of downplaying the issue. On the contrary, I believe otherwise. Therefore, it is unnecessary for senior state officials to continuously provide statements to the media,” Clerides stated, as reported by The Cyprus Mail.
He stated that there are provisions in place to address the consequences of the sanctions, which resulted in the freezing of bank accounts belonging to individuals and businesses, including law and accounting firms.
When asked to comment on President Nikos Christodoulides’ statement of “I will not cover for anyone,” which was seen as an attempt to prevent further economic repercussions, Clerides responded, “Who said we want to cover for anyone?” He further mentioned that the bar association had been in contact with both the US and UK embassies, and neither expressed significant concerns about how the government would handle the sanctions.
Clerides noted that there may have been an inclination toward “over-compliance” due to the negative international reputation Cyprus has gained over the past decade as a haven for Russian oligarchs and the wealthy to conceal their funds. However, he emphasized that the necessary mechanisms exist in Cyprus, and the rule of law is upheld. While certain cases are still being heard in court, there is no need for an exaggerated response, he added.
He acknowledged that Cyprus’ reputation has suffered abroad over the past ten years, although this is not solely attributed to the recent inclusion on the sanctions list.
The newspaper previously reported that the sanctions had severely impacted the economy, extending beyond the targeted sectors and resulting in the loss of numerous jobs and business closures.