Cyprus prepares to launch money laundering audit

by Christine Pirovolakis

Athens/Nicosia (dpa) - Cyprus on Wednesday said it will soon launch a money laundering audit, amid heightening expectations that a bailout for the debt-ridden country will soon be finalized.

The newly elected Cypriot government agreed to a private audit of its efforts to combat money laundering during a eurozone meeting earlier this month as a condition to receiving bailout aid.

The island‘s requested bailout package, estimated at about 17 billion euros (22.1 billion dollars), is embroiled in German accusations that Cyprus is a haven for money launderers and tax evaders.

State television RIK said negotiations between the Ministry of Finance and international creditors were underway to reach an agreement on the terms of reference governing the independent audit.

The daily Cyprus Mail said the audit into Cyprus‘ legislation against money laundering will be conducted by an independent private firm with the participation of the Moneyval Committee of the Council of Europe.

Nicosia has repeatedly rejected allegations that Cypriot banks engage in money-laundering activities and said it has "nothing to hide," ahead of the independent audit which should be completed by the end of the month. dpa cp mga