Officials Debate Russian Money Laundering in TRNC

 

Julia Fisher - US Ambassador to Cyprus
[Julia Fisher – US Ambassador to South Cyprus]
Saturday, 26  August 2023

Purchasing of immovable property in the TRNC by foreign buyers was discussed at the Round Table meeting attended by foreign ambassadors within the framework of the Foreign Greeks Congress (22-25 August) held in south Nicosia, Kibris Postasi reports.

During the meeting, the US Ambassador and the British High Commissioner focused especially on the Russian presence in the TRNC. 

According to Greek Cypriot daily Phileleftheros, the TRNC has become a “black spot” for Russian investors and alarm bells are ringing in Washington and London.

The newspaper wrote that the US Ambassador to Southern Cyprus Julia Fisher and British High Commissioner İrfan Siddiq, who mentioned that the “Russian problem” in Southern Cyprus has migrated to the TRNC, expressed “concern” about the situation created by the Russians in the TRNC. It also was pointed out that Israelis are also buying immovable property in large lots.

According to the report Fisher said, “The issue of Russians buying real estate from the North concerns us very much and it is part of the negotiations between our governments. In this regard, we follow an approach for the whole of the Island (regarding Russia). We are thinking about how to address the avoidance of sanctions, we monitor and track the money and we are working to deal with illegal finance”, she said.

İrfan Siddiq, on the other hand, said that “the problem of money laundering by Russia and the Russians has passed from the South of Cyprus to the North” was a challenge and that they were cooperating with the US.

Israeli Property Buying in North

In the same article, Phileleftheros stated that the Israeli Ambassador to Cyprus Oren Anolik had “washed his hands” of the issue.

At the round table meeting the Israel Ambassador was asked what the Israeli government was doing about these property purchases.

It was reported that Anolik said that the “Israeli government has nothing to do in this regard, and that the things to be done should be done in coordination with the Greek Cypriot administration“.

Noting that the majority of Israelis are unaware of what is going on in Cyprus, İrfan Siddiq said that the Greek Cypriot administration and the Israeli Embassy could do more to inform people all over the world about the situation, and help the Israeli government launch a campaign on this issue.

Oren Anolik said, “Not much can be done from a legal point of view because none of the Israeli laws are violated, it is the Cypriot law that is violated and the Cypriot government should consider what to do about the violation of these laws.

 “Unfortunately, this problem exists and some are using the situation to gain economic advantage, but our overall bilateral relations are not affected“, he said.

Kibris Postasi

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