Some progress, but also mild shortcomings, regarding Cyprus' compliance with Financial Action Task Force (FATF) anti-money laundering and anti-money laundering standards terrorist financing, the Council of Europe's Committee of Experts on Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism (Moneyval) finds.
Following the completion of the second progress assessment, released today, Moneyval's experts concluded that while some progress has been made in addressing the technical compliance weaknesses identified in the first assessment, Cyprus has not been reassessed in any of the four recommendations for which it is rated as partially compliant.
In particular, it is noted that some progress has been made in improving compliance with recommendations 8, 15 and 31 “but some gaps remain”.
“Cyprus is encouraged to continue its efforts to address the remaining weaknesses” , says the Moneyval report.
Therefore, Cyprus is rated fully compliant with 16 out of 40 FATF recommendations, highly compliant with 20 recommendations and partially compliant with four recommendations. The latter concern non-profit organizations, correspondent banks, new technologies and the powers of prosecuting and investigative authorities. It is noted that there is no recommendation for which Cyprus is graded as non-compliant.
“The Cypriot authorities took further measures aimed at improving the level of compliance with FATF recommendations in relation to non-profit organizations, virtual currency service providers and investigative and prosecutorial powers, however modest shortcomings still remain, it said.
The second assessment report examined a range of legislative, regulatory and institutional measures taken by the Cypriot authorities in relation to risk assessment and supervision of the non-profit sector, the powers of investigative authorities to monitor telecommunications conversations, the application of controlled cash delivery techniques and bearer negotiable instruments, as well as the supervision of virtual assets and related services.
“The authorities have taken some steps in assessing the risk of terrorist financing from the non-profit sector and strengthened their oversight, but these measures have not been fully implemented,” Moveyal reports.
There is still talk of substantial progress in the implementation of a regime governing the virtual assets sector, but it is noted that, among other things, there is no national action plan to address the risks identified in the sector, while some technical weaknesses remain in the implementation of deterrent measures, including of the so-called “travel rule”.
It is also noted that “minor deficiencies” remain related to the absence of powers to monitor telecommunications in the context of the investigation of money laundering, terrorist financing and other basic offences. As stated, the recording of conversations only covers some offenses related to money laundering, particularly murder or manslaughter, human trafficking and trafficking, drug trafficking, as well as offenses related to corruption and counterfeiting.
However, the scope is limited, as court orders, which allow the recording of the content of conversations, do not extend to the investigation of money laundering, terrorist financing and other basic crimes, such as sexual exploitation, including of children, participation in a criminal organization, fraud, theft, arms trafficking, and corruption offenses punishable by less than five years in prison, such as tax crimes and others.
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