Cyprus has harmonized its anti-money laundering legislation with the European acquis.
Specifically, the Plenary Session of the Parliament unanimously amended the Law on Preventing and Combating Money Laundering, in order to harmonize national legislation with three EU directives and acts.
The Republic of Cyprus was obliged to transpose Directive (EU) 2018/843 into domestic law by 10 January 2020 and due to untimely harmonization the European Commission first sent a letter of formal notice to the Republic and then issued a reasoned opinion / infringement no. 2020/2011, according to which the Republic was required to transpose the relevant Directive in the internal legal order by December 30, 2020.
The Chairman of the Legal Committee, DISY MP George Georgiou, after explaining the bill, referred in particular to the amendments that occurred after the discussion in the Committee. He also noted that the Commission was once again faced with a dilemma due to the delay of the state services to bring the legislation to the Commission and the possibility of imposing sanctions on the Republic by the EU was visible.
AKEL MP Aristos Damianou stated that the competent services wanted to pass the law without even examining it by the Commission, which in the end had about 100 remarks. He also said that despite the passing and updating of laws, Cyprus is struggling to implement, especially in terms of money laundering.
DIKO MP Christiana Erotokritou stated that due to the delay in the arrival of this complex bill, the Commission entered the dilemma of either seeing it in an exhaustive number of sessions or being accountable for any fine against the Republic. He added that this practice on the part of the competent services has now become the norm.
The Plenary also voted with 22 votes in favor, 3 against and 12 abstentions, an amendment of the DISY Parliamentary Group, based on which the list will be kept by the Advisory Authority and which will determine the exact tasks that are considered important public function for them. For the purposes of defining the term “politically exposed person”, it will be processed in accordance with the provisions of the basic law concerning the implementation of the legislation on the processing of personal data. With the addition of this provision, a more correct harmonization with Article 1.13 of Directive (EU) 2018/843 is achieved.