Former Governor of the Central Bank of Cyprus, Panicos Demetriades, was interviewed by EUObserver in relation to the links between Cyprus and Russia.
This interview was published in EUObserver, 25 September 2018, and can be found here.
Cyprus: Russia’s EU weak link?
“Five years and €10bn of taxpayer’s money after its EU bailout and Cyprus is still a “weak link” in Europe’s banking system, its critics say.
Its lax attitude to suspicious Russian money posed a threat to other countries’ banks in the single market and created hazards for European democracy, experts said.
Cyprus’ special relationship with Russia has also seen it break EU ranks in an international criminal justice affair, posing questions on constitutional order in the island republic.
The criticism, which the Cypriot government told EUobserver was “unfounded”, comes amid EU efforts to crack down on money laundering and other illegality in its own ranks.
But the EU bailout, which was meant to clean up Cyprus, might have made things worse by handing more power to Russian oligarchs in Nicosia…
…Demetriades saw first-hand how bank supervision works in Nicosia when Russian oligarchs took control of the country’s main lender on his watch.
When, one day in September 2013, he looked at a list of the top-10 new shareholders of Bank of Cyprus, he could hardly believe his eyes, he told EUobserver.
“They were [almost] all either Russians or pro-Russian Ukrainians and they were all PEPs,” he said, referring to “Politically Exposed Persons” – bank jargon for people considered to pose a high risk of money laundering.””