NICOSIA – President-elect Nicos Anastasiades, has asked for fair treatment for Cyprus, dismissing as unfair and exaggerated allegations by some EU states that the island is a haven for money laundering.
In an interview with the German newspaper “Bild”, Anastasiades said that Cyprus is ready to undergo further inspections from competent bodies, stressing that Cyprus “has nothing to hide”.
"We are ready to introduce the necessary reforms. But, at the same time, we ask for fair treatment, " he underlined, noting that it is important to bring the economy back on track.
He appeared cautious as regards the imposition of new taxes, such as the financial transactions tax (EU FTT), saying that in times of recession, new taxes deteriorate the economic situation.
"I am sceptical. I do not believe that new taxes will solve the problems. Continuous tax increases during a recession will only worsen the situation", he said.
Asked how much longer the Cyprus economy can be sustained without foreign assistance, Anastassiades explained that currently there is an urgent need for the recapitalisation of the banking sector in Cyprus which has suffered due to the Greek bonds haircut.
He said he agreed with the position expressed by France and Germany for a Cyprus bailout to be agreed by March and said that the outlook for Cyprus is good as it will implement the necessary structural reforms.
"Now we only need a helping hand", he went on to say.
Asked about his moves to combat money-laundering, he pointed out that money laundering is a global problem and no country can claim to be completely free of it.
Anastasiades dismissed allegations that Cyprus is a haven for money laundering, as unjust and excessive and noted that Cyprus has been subjected to inspections on this issue.
Nevertheless, he said, Cyprus is ready for further inspections by the competent bodies and is ready to adopt proposals that will lead to further improvements.
"We have nothing to hide. I am determined to end this discussion, "he stressed.
He dismissed allegations that Russian oligarchs “feel comfortable in Cyprus”, saying that he knows of no Russian oligarch living and working in Cyprus.
“I reiterate once more. We are ready to solve all problems. We are ready to make the necessary reforms. But, at the same time, we require to be treated fairly" he pointed out.
Replying to questions, he expressed confidence that Cyprus will have the support of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, making the necessary reforms.
He also said he was confident that Cyprus would be able to convince the opposition in Germany.
"I am also confident that we can convince the German opposition. We ask for fair treatment. We will do our best to bring our economy back on track," he concluded.