Russian depositors appear to continue the trend of taking money out of Cyprus and out of the Mediterranean island’s banking system, according to Central Bank of Cyprus data. This shows a steady monthly decline in deposits from this geographical origin.
Due to the fact that Russian customers close down bank accounts in Cyprus, withdrawn deposits reached a total of €93 million within a month. The decline recorded within two months, specifically by end of February was €140 million. And compared to one year ago, the overall decline in deposits is at €1.34 billion.
The exodus of Russian depositors from Cypriot banks seems to be related to international efforts to combat money laundering within the EU. Russian deposits at Cyprus banks were at a good level even by the end of 2013, the year of the haircut.
The Central Bank data also shows that total deposits by Russians were €11.76 billion by end of 2013, recording a decline of €4.95 billion by February 2019. From 2015 till the second month of this year, total Russian funds withdrawn from Cypriot banks were €5 billion.
Moneyval’s assessment in 2019 is expected to be very interesting considering that Cyprus is being criticized by both the EU and the United States. From time to time, several foreign press reports make allegations about “strange” movements of Russian money to and from Cyprus.
The latest comprehensive review by Moneyval took place in 2011. However, the high number of accusations against Cyprus after the collapse of its banking system in 2013 concerning Russian deposits in collapsed Laiki Bank and in Bank of Cyprus has led the competent authority to carry out an interim evaluation of Cyprus.
Nicosia is also closely monitored by the US financial crime prevention network, known as FinCEN.