Funnelling Funds Through Cyprus


By Scott Morgan

It should come as no surprise to those who investigate money laundering to notice that the links connecting Paul Manaford to Ukraine has a path through Cyprus. At least one Democratic Member of the House Intelligence Committee thinks so. History does show us that there is reason for concern regarding this question.

What are the potential links between Russia and Cyprus? When it comes to the financial sector there are substantial ties. When the Cypriot banking industry collapsed, back in 2012, under a collective series of events (i.e. Bonds being relegated to junk status, overexposure of the banks to overleveraged local property companies and the financial crisis in Greece) the industry was running on a loan floated by Russia.

The Russian loan was an emergency loan of 2.5 Billion Euros or 3.236 Billion USD. This was done to support an economy that has been known to be used as an offshore tax haven by Russian oligarchs and multinational corporations. This preceded a massive bailout by the EU in 2013 that placed Cyprus back on the road to economic stability.

But there are close ties beneath the surface that indicate that in the past Russia has used Cyprus for operations that are more than just money laundering. Back in 2010, during the Anna Chapman scandal, the paymaster of the group was detained in Cyprus at one point but promptly disappeared. US Officials believed that the escape was assisted by Russian Intelligence.

Cyprus also received some unwanted scrutiny due to the release of the Panama Papers. Earlier this year, the tax authorities informed the Parliament that over 1,300 individuals and 1,000 entities with ties to the country were mentioned in the Panama Papers. 700 people and businesses had not filed taxes since 2005 and 50 of them did not have a file on record with the tax assessors.That is not only a loss for the Cypriot economy but could also be taken as a sign to the number of operations that the SVR has been running through the island.

Russian Intelligence has been active over the last few years carrying out measures throughout Europe. In recent weeks, there have been allegations of efforts by Russia to overthrow the Government of Montenegro before it could actually join NATO. It does make one wonder if Cyprus was used as a conduit for transit during this operation.

Any idea of rejecting potential links via Cyprus regarding funds being donated to any candidate for President of the United States (during the most recent election cycle) has to be investigated. This should not create any hysteria among hard core party activists, although it will most likely occur due to how the media covers this story.  It also raises new concerns regarding if this was the only effort by Russia to influence an election in Europe. There has been some connections between the Kremlin and Populist Movements in Western Europe. It is not that much of a stretch to assume that some of the money made its way to the west via Cyprus, is it?

The Great Game of the cold war plays on with new players…


(Image: Cyprus Map - Google Images)

[The views expressed in this publication are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Dissecting Society]

Comments

  1. Cyprus is the least of the world's problems. There are other European countries that funnel Russian funds, so look much closer.

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