Financial systems depend on trust from citizens and businesses to function. A vital part of this trust is the belief that banks are not holding funds on behalf of corrupt individuals and organisations, criminals, or terrorists. In recent years, the financial sector has provided ample reason to question this belief. The majority of large-scale corruption scandals, from Ukraine to Brazil, have featured banks transferring or managing funds for the perpetrators and their associates. To reduce money-laundering risks and increase the systemic accountability of the financial sector, this report recommends that financial sector supervisors should make a standard set of supervisory and enforcement statistics public on a yearly basis, including the number of banks inspected, the number of regulatory breaches found, and the number and value of sanctions imposed. The report’s findings show that currently just 1 in 3 such statistics is publicly available across the 12 countries assessed. Regular data on anti-money laundering supervision would allow for greater oversight by citizens, media, and national and international authorities.
What the report says about Cyprus:
– «While none of the reviewed countries disclosed data from all five thematic areas, Cyprus and the US disclosed the broadest range of up-to-date anti-money laundering statistics. An important caveat, however, is that in both these countries most indicators are not available directly from national authorities, but via FATF and Moneyval reports». (p.11)
– «Cyprus and France presented the most complete data sets, covering aspects of monitoring, regulatory breaches and sanctions. No relevant data for the UK were found». (p.13)
– Cyprus is included in the countries that provided complete or close to complete statistics on Anti-money laundering legal systems and operations (p.13).
– «Cyprus disclosed the most complete set of anti-money laundering data among the 12 analysed countries, with information available for 14 out of the 20 indicators». (p.16)
– «The number of supervisory on-site visits in recent years was high, considering the small size of the Cypriot economy. Identified breaches have resulted in fines (170,000 euro and 215,000 euro in 2012 and 2011 respectively; and 5,000 euro in 2013, as the majority of cases were still pending at the time the data were published)». (p.16)
– «The reported number of criminal investigations on money laundering activities in 2014 was very high. A fifth to a quarter of criminal investigations resulted in prosecution». (p.16)
– «The average time needed to respond to MLA requests has improved to 120 days, down from 150 days in 2010» (p.17).