Cypriot banks will start to check the identity of customers after the offshore scandal

The Central Bank of Cyprus ordered the credit institution and of the country and intermediaries to verify the identity of their customers and to suspend operations on the accounts in case of non-compliance with these rules. On Thursday, April 7, according to Reuters.

The Agency stresses that the Cypriot regulator has gone on toughening of rules of identification of clients of the banks a few days after the publication of a large-scale investigation about the offshore companies, known as “the Panama papers”.

In Cyprus, there are thousands of offshore companies, many of them Russian, emphasizes Reuters. The Cyprus legislation permits the creation of companies with a purely nominal structure in which the beneficiary does not appear in the financial statements of the company. However, after “the Panama scandal” Cyprus Central Bank decided to introduce the so-called rule of “know your customer” rules for banks and intermediaries.

“Today’s amendment is a part of continuous efforts aimed at further strengthening the regulatory framework, the purpose of which is the prevention of flaws or weaknesses, leading to the possibility of money laundering or terrorist financing”, — said in a statement the Cypriot regulator.

On 3 April, the international consortium of investigative journalists (ICIJ) and the Center for the study of corruption and organized crime (OCCRP) published the results of extensive investigations about the offshore world leaders, politicians and celebrities in Panama and the British virgin Islands. The investigation involves 12 current and former world leaders, politicians 128 and 29 billionaires on the Forbes list, as well as 13 Russian officials and deputies.

In the investigation, in particular, refers to the friend of the young President of Russia Vladimir Putin — the cellist Sergey Roldugin, which the study authors called the owner of the offshore companies through which senior officials of the state withdrew the funds.

It was reported that Roldugin was one of the largest shareholders of the seller of television advertising in Russia, Video international (Vi), through offshore companies owning 20% of the company. In 2010, it was announced that Vi was redeemed by structures of Bank “Russia”, “Surgutneftegas” and the main shareholder of “Severstal” Alexey Mordashov. In this case 12,5% received Med Media Network — a 100% subsidiary of another offshore structure International Media Overseas, the real beneficiary of which was allegedly Roldugin.

In addition, the cellist is called one of the beneficiaries of companies, owning stakes in KAMAZ and AVTOVAZ, as well as affirmed that in his best interest to act “Troika Dialog”. About 32.2% from 54.4% stake of KAMAZ, Troika owned through a Cyprus Avtoinvest Limited, was established in the investigation.

The journalists claimed that one of the main sources of funding for related Roldugina offshore companies were significant unsecured loans from Cypriot Bank RCB. Then The Guardian gave the words “high-ranking source in Moscow”, which described the RCB as “private wallet” for high-ranking officials. RCB Itself reported on Monday, April 4, that has never granted unsecured loans.