AKIPRESS.COM - Cyprus needs to step up its fight against the laundering of illicit cash generated outside the east Mediterranean island nation, a leading European financial watchdog said Wednesday, AP News reports.
Moneyval, which is part of the Council of Europe, the continent’s leading human rights organization, said in a report that Cypriot law enforcement should be more aggressive in going after laundering of revenues that criminals rake in abroad.
Cyprus has become a focal point in the fight against money laundering because it’s an international financial center within which many foreign clients operate. Moneyval said ill-gotten money from abroad flowing in or through Cypriot banks is the main money laundering and terror financing risk that Cyprus faces.
Though Cyprus has a “reasonable record” on chasing laundering from domestic criminal activity, Moneyval said in a statement that local authorities should do more to go after those proceeds generated outside of the country.
Though the threat of terrorism in considered to be low in Cyprus, authorities say the terror financing risk is elevated because of its proximity to conflict areas.
Moneyval credited the Cypriot banking sector for having a firm grasp of the risks and has taken solid steps to counter them, including strong supervision from the Central Bank of Cyprus.