In Paul Manafort’s Trial, a Cyprus Bank Is a Cooperating Witness
The Manafort trial has shed a new light on Cyprus’s banks. For years, the eastern Mediterranean nation was one of the world’s great gateways for the fortunes of high-risk clients, particularly organized-crime suspects and billionaires sprouting from the collapse of the Soviet Union.
So many wealthy Russians moved their money into Europe and back via Cyprus—a European Union member—that from 2007 to 2012, the country of one million people was both the biggest source of foreign investment in Russia and the world’s biggest recipient of Russian investment in return, data from both countries’ central banks show.
By itself, the island has brought few money-laundering cases to court, some officials complain. “The difficulty I have with Cyprus in general is that everything other than money laundering, they prosecute it,” said Panicos Demetriades, former governor of Cyprus’s central bank. But in this case, he added, “They cooperated.…It’s a plus for Cyprus.”
Read the full article in The Wall Street Journal here.