The government of Cyprus, under pressure from the public, was recently forced to publish the report of Demetra Kalogirou on the golden passports.
As it turns out, the report mentions four law firms which the Pancyprian Bar Association will have to verify that they have applied proper client identification procedures in their investor relations.
The head of the Pancyprian Bar Association, Christos Clerides, announced on Wednesday, December 30, that all naturalization cases are being investigated.
I have instructed the anti-money laundering (AML) group to investigate all the cases that were conducted by the offices mentioned in the report of Demetra Kalogirou, Clerides said.
He also explained that the audit began a few days ago and affects about 20 law firms. At the same time, in addition to the offices referred to in the Kalogirou report, firms referred to by the Auditor General in relation to naturalization were included there.
Clerides noted that the audit process will take several months. He pointed out at the same time that disciplinary cases have already been initiated in two different cases.
The representative of the Association of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus (SELK) Kyriakos Jordanous said that his organization also intends to audit three accounting / audit bureaus for compliance with the necessary procedures.
'We know what these companies are after they were disclosed by the media. At SELK, we took action and completed the necessary work. We are in the process of monitoring and continue to evaluate the offices without any final results,' - said Jordanous, expressing hope that the process will be completed within the next 1-1.5 months.
Finally, based on the report by Demetra Kalogirou, the Greek Capital Market Commission said it should conduct additional investigations into two cases in which administrative violations may arise, since companies could provide services without appropriate licenses. The problem is being studied, but it takes time to figure it out.
In addition, according to a spokesman for the Greek Capital Markets Commission, the Committee, led by Demetra Kalogirou, sent letters to all its market observers asking them to provide information on whether they were naturalizing, how they dealt with them and what information they received as part of their activities.
We go beyond these two cases mentioned in the conclusion by checking all of our licensees to ensure they have the information they need to naturalize according to the Money Laundering Prevention Act. As already noted, two more cases should be sent to the tax office, since violations related to tax evasion may arise, the Greek Capital Market Commission noted.
As you may know earlier Superintendent Yannis Tsagaris said in parliament that the priority of the tax department from the point of view of naturalization is control over the ombudsmen. In this context, the Department examined 300 ombudsman offices to check whether they applied the legislation correctly.
The Central Bank of Cyprus is also expected to review five cases to determine whether diligence and proper customer authentication and fundraising procedures have been followed in transactions in relation to investments in bank accounts in Cyprus.