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MOSCOW, April 28. /TASS/. The so-called "Panama papers" have nothing to do with Cyprus but information regarding them is in either event related to the Cyprus banking system, Board Member of the Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency (CIPA) Angelos Grigoriades told TASS on Thursday.
"Cyprus is not an offshore jurisdiction. It is a country member of the European Union, fully harmonized with the EU and OECD Directives, implementing all the rules and regulations regarding anti-money laundering procedures. I have to mention that the legal framework both in the professional services and the banking sector has been strengthened. This is something which is verified by European Central Bank, European Commission and International Monetary Funds," Grigoriades said.
In any case Cyprus Central Bank says it is assessing the Panama Papers information as concerns the Cypriot banking system and will take appropriate action where necessary, Grigoriades said. "Our country treats its investment image with a lot of attention and any allegations brought against our country will be thoroughly investigated by the authorities," he added.
"Lots of investors and clients with huge and multinational groups have Cypriot entities in their structures. If for example the ultimate owner of the Cypriot company is a corporate vehicle in Panama, this does not change the fact that Cyprus is a strong financial Centre with strict rules regarding AML procedures. Most of the companies associated with Panamas relating to shipping industry, since the regime there was more developed, and it has nothing to do with tax evasion practices," Grigoriades said.
The official has also noted that enhanced cooperation between Russian and Cyprian stock exchanges would facilitate access of Russian companies to European investments.
"There is currently discussion between two stock exchanges to find ways to cooperate. I believe there is a good prospect, because they should make life easier for Russian companies that want to list their shares on the Cyprus Stock Exchange to attract investment from European market and alternatively for Cypriot funds to register on the Russian Exchange in order to be able to buy and sell units and be more marketable," Grigoriades said.
"There are the prospects in Europe to make easier the movement of capital from one country within Europe to the other for investment purpose," he said, adding that "more funding will be available in Cyprus for Cyprus registered funds."
According to Grigoriades, "Cyprus and Russia have signed an important cooperation agreement with regards to the stock exchange sector." "A delegation from Russia met a month ago with officials of the Cyprus Stock Exchange and discussed how to practically implement measures to promote this agreement. It was agreed that they will meet in one month’s time to agree the possible next steps," he said, adding that "the delay was mostly due to the economic and market conditions prevailing in the two countries in the previous years."
The cooperation between the two sides is aimed are providing easy access to a wide range of financial instruments in both countries to institutional and private investors in Russia and Cyprus, he said. "Both parties will undertake efforts to develop and grow investments, including offering new products and services to institutional and private investors that will be designed for the effective management of capital flow," he added.