Moneyval’s onsite review and appraisal of Cyprus relating to the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing began on Monday and seems to be quite rigorous, according to insiders.
The Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism team are expected to round up their fifth round next week.
The main purpose of the review is to examine the effectiveness of the measures taken by Cyprus to combat money laundering by assessing the level of compliance that each EU state has in the fight against financial crime.
The team currently holds meetings with all stakeholders, such as the Central Bank of Cyprus, Ministry of Finance, Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission, MOKAS (Unit for Combatting Money Laundering) and commercial banks. As well as the Institute of Certified Accountants of Cyprus and the Cyprus Bar Association.
In addition to meetings with the supervisory bodies, the team also pays visits to companies from each industry to see on its own the practices applied. Business members get interviewed by the Moneyval team on how customers are handled, relevant legislation etc.
This is in addition to extensive questionnaires on anti-money laundering procedures that stakeholders already responded to last year. Cypriot technocrats had received training on how to respond to these questionnaires.
All involved in the Moneyval assessment were required to sign a confidentiality agreement so that as little as possible information is leaked.
Phileleftheros insiders said the team is as thorough as can be because they want to get a complete picture on all sectors of the island’s economy. At the same time, authorities are expected to give convincing answers over the country’s effectiveness in fighting financial crime.
A draft report of the fifth round is expected to be sent to MOKAS in late summer so that the Unit gets to add comments it may have. The final report will be delivered by the year’s end, expected to include substantial comments and recommendations regarding the Cypriot economy.
This is, after all, the purpose of the review, insiders said.