The Danske Bank scandal is the best argument against those slamming Cyprus for years in a bid to tarnish the Mediterranean island’s image as an international financial centre, Marios Scandalis who is the President of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus (ICPAC) told INSIDER.
Under the shadow cast by the recent scandals involving Danske Bank and ING, both of which have shaken the whole of Europe and more specifically northern European countries lobbying hard on transparency, relevant bodies in Cyprus are sending the message that the island is now among the most credible states in terms of safety measures aiming to combat suspicious money laundering.
An internal report by Denmark’s Danske Bank revealed in September that the lender had failed for years to prevent suspected money laundering involving thousands of customers at its branch in Tallinn, Estonia. The report prompted Danske’s chief executive and chairman to step down.
In December, the police in Estonia arrested 10 former Danske employees on charges that they had been involved in a network of money launderers who transferred some US$230 billion between 2007 and 2015. Naturally, the funds were trafficked through other banks as well, such as the Dutch ING, Norway’s Nordic Bank and Germany’s Deutsche Bank.
Cyprus may not have been directly involved in the Danske scandal, but a report by Moody’s said 9% of suspicious payments, that is about €18 billion, came from shell companies registered in Cyprus.
However, such bad practices are now a thing of the past since Cyprus as a whole, but especially its financial sector, today has one of the most credible supervision systems in combatting money laundering, Scandalis said.
“It is about time that all those who so easily accuse and slam Cyprus to do their own self-criticism and also realise that there is a post-2015 era. Cyprus got to understand, in the most vicious and unjust way back in 2013, that there is no other path than that of transparency and integrity as far as the economy goes,” he added.