Wednesday

27th Oct 2021

MEPs demand Cyprus open up over Russia money laundering

  • "The conduct of Cyprus … will have implications that go far beyond this case," the MEPs said. (Photo: jnocca93)

MEPs have urged Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades to "correct" the mishandling of a Russia corruption case.

The 17 deputies voiced "grave concern" in a letter to Nicosia on Friday (26 October) that Cyprus was "actively assisting" Russia in "politically-motivated proceedings" against Bill Browder, a British human rights campaigner.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

They also called on Cyprus to hold an investigation into alleged Russian money laundering via Cypriot banks.

They said Cyprus was "neglecting its duties under the European directives to combat money laundering".

"The conduct of Cyprus … will have implications that go far beyond this case," they said.

The European Parliament has no power to compel Cyprus to act.

But the MEPs' letter, signed by German green Rebecca Harms, Swedish conservative Gunnar Hokmark, and Lithuanian liberal Petras Austrevicius, among others, shone a spotlight on recent events on the island.

Cyprus has invited Russian interrogators to question Browder's lawyers.

It has also produced no results in a four-year probe into the laundering of a €195-million Russian tax fraud through its banks.

Browder used to run a hedge fund in Russia.

He became a campaigner for EU and US sanctions on Russia after his lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, exposed the fraud and was subsequently jailed and killed.

The MEPs noted that "every other European country, Interpol [the international police agency] and the Council of Europe have deemed the Russian proceedings against Mr Browder to be politically motivated".

They said they were "appalled" that Cyprus was helping Russia to frame Browder for the crime.

The letter comes after a British MP urged the UK treasury to recommend that Cyprus' international anti-money laundering rating should be downgraded over the same issues.

The Cypriot justice ministry denied wrongdoing in a statement on Friday.

It said its probe, which began in 2013, into the Russia money laundering case was "open and ongoing".

Cyprus helping Russia to roll back US sanctions

Browder, a British activist who inspired a US law on freezing assets of Russian human rights abusers, said he was "terrified" of going to Cyprus because it would extradite him to Russia.

EU monitoring Cyprus passport sales

The European Commission has said it is in a "dialogue" with Cyprus amid concerns on loopholes in its passport sale scheme.

US backs Europe on Russia deterrent

US defence chief James Mattis has praised European efforts to jointly deter Russian aggression, amid talks on EU military integration.

News in Brief

  1. US to add last three EU states to visa-waiver list
  2. German ministry gives thumbs up to Russian pipeline
  3. EU regulator foresees endless battles with Facebook
  4. UK fears three migrants drowned in Channel
  5. Israel joins EU science scheme, despite Palestine clause
  6. Upcoming flu season 'could be severe', EU agency warns
  7. Ukraine wins Dutch case on Crimea gold
  8. Most Poles want Warsaw to back down in EU dispute

Feature

Covid-hit homeless find Xmas relief at Brussels food centre

The Kamiano food distribution centre in Brussels is expecting 20 people every half hour on Christmas Day. For many, Kamiano is also more than that - a support system for those made homeless or impoverished.

Top court finds Hungary and Poland broke EU rules

EU tribunal said Hungary's legislation made it "virtually impossible" to make an asylum application. Restricting access to international protection procedure is a violation of EU rules.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew report reveals bad environmental habits
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersImproving the integration of young refugees
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals

Latest News

  1. Environment ministers continue dogfight on energy price hike
  2. Most lawmakers unhappy with lead MEP's asylum bill
  3. More transparency on EU media owners planned for 2022
  4. Europe's deadly border policies
  5. 'Brussels So White' needs action, not magical thinking
  6. How to break the political deadlock on migration
  7. Hedegaard on the hazards of stalling climate action
  8. Belarus exiles in EU fear regime-linked murderers

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us