More entries expected on sanctions list

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President Nikos Christodoulides believes more Cypriots and companies may be placed on the Russian sanctions list, vowing the government will do whatever possible to protect the country’s credibility.

“We will not allow anyone to think that they can violate sanctions, cause problems and use our country’s name and continue with this type of behaviour,” President Christodoulides said Sunday.

He said British and American authorities have yet to provide information on new sanctions against Russia involving Cypriots, but “we are expecting it at any moment”.

“We have been told that information will be given to us gradually.

“It will not be given to us all at once because many services and authorities are involved, both from the United States and the British authorities.

“On our part, we are doing everything possible…we will do whatever needs to be done so that our country is not considered a country that violates sanctions, that does not implement sanctions.

“This is our chance to end this issue and finally clear our country’s name.

“Efforts have been made over time, which have yielded results.

According to President Christodoulides, the goal is “to further improve the impression that exists about our country, but also about the reality of what is happening.”

“Beyond that, we will see the facts, the competent authorities of the Republic of Cyprus are ready at any time to study them, evaluate them, and we will talk about this again”.

President Christodoulides said he believes more entries will be added: “in general, without excluding the possibility that there may be entities, or legal or natural persons who are within the Republic.”

Britain and the US have sanctioned Cyprus nationals and companies for allegedly helping Russian oligarchs hide their assets in the wake of the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

Nicosia said it’s committed to prosecuting any Cypriots accused by the US and Britain of enabling oligarchs to bypass sanctions imposed because of the war.

It has contacted both the US and Britain seeking evidence against those named so they could be investigated at home.

Cypriot banks had frozen the accounts of 13 individuals named and a number of Cyprus-based companies.

In recent years the authorities have closed 43,000 shell companies and 123,000 “suspicious” bank accounts.

Only 2.2 per cent of all bank deposits on the island currently belong to Russians.

Cyprus Bar Association chief Christos Clerides told CyBC the approach by the US and Britain was “excessive” and not one adopted by Brussels.