International: MONEYVAL publishes report on Cyprus' AML/CFT system
The Council of Europe Expert Committee on Measures to Combat Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing ('MONEYVAL') published, on 12 February 2020, a report ('the Report') calling on the Cypriot authorities to pursue money laundering from criminal proceeds generated outside of Cyprus more aggressively, and take a more proactive approach to the freezing and confiscation of foreign proceeds. In particular, the Report assesses the effectiveness of Cyprus' anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism ('AML/CFT') regime and its level of compliance with the Recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force ('FATF').
In addition, the Report highlights the weaknesses of the AML/CFT regime, namely, the fact that Cyprus has not yet conducted a formal assessment of risks posed by legal persons, and the need for the implementation of better preventive measures by the trust and corporate services sector as a whole. Moreover, the Report addresses the high risk in the real estate sector and the Cyprus investment programme, recommends that Cyprus should conduct a comprehensive AML/CFT risk assessment of this programme, and implement preventative measures to be taken by real estate agents.
Furthermore, the Report notes that Cyprus has adopted a good level of domestic cooperation and coordination between the competent authorities. Finally, the Report concludes that the banking sector is becoming more effective in mitigating risks due to the sound supervisory practices of the Central Bank of Cyprus.