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6 Dec, 2023 05:23

EU state bans Russian ruble transactions – media

Cyprus is probing claims of sanctions violations, Politis newspaper writes
EU state bans Russian ruble transactions – media

The government of Cyprus has ordered the country’s banks to stop all transactions using the Russian ruble, the newspaper Politis reported on Tuesday.

The outlet explained that the ban comes as part of an investigation into reported violations of the EU sanctions against Russia. It doesn’t specify when the ban came into force.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) claimed in its Cyprus Confidential report last month that a “sprawling financial industry” on the island enabled Moscow to dodge the sanctions regime.

According to the publication, law and accounting firms are investigating possible abuse of the rapid business registration process that enabled Russians to obtain residence and work permits in Cyprus and to benefit from tax exemptions. As an EU state, Cyprus abides by the bloc’s financial and trade sanctions against Moscow. 

The US will send a team of 24 law enforcement officials, including from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), to Cyprus to help in the investigation, Politis wrote. 

It was reported last month that UnionPay cards issued in Russia had stopped working in Cyprus. Russian banks switched to the Chinese payment system after Visa and Mastercard stopped working in the country due to Western sanctions. 

Cyprus is a popular destination for Russians, and its services industry was partly built on an extensive network of businesses with links to Russia. According to Forbes, as of 2022, Russians accounted for 6% of the island’s population.

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