Cyprus Finance Minister says Cyprus is a "clean" market
Limassol, Jun 15 - Cyprus Finance Minister Michael Sarris has stressed that Cyprus is a "clean" market, in which money laundering has no place.
In an address at the Egmont Group Plenary, taking place in the coastal city of Limassol between June 12-16, 2006, Mr. Sarris added that the services sector, namely financial services, accounting services, legal services, banking services, hotel and tourist services are the engine of the Cypriot economy.
"For the health of these sectors, keeping financial transparency, keeping a clean record, keeping a good international reputation is paramount", he said, noting that this is why the Egmont Group's work is very important.
As regards the combating of money laundering in Cyprus, he said: "we are very committed to supporting our local financial intelligence units, to have them play an important international role and we are proud that their work is being recognized by international committees".
Referring to the Egmont Group he said it has known an impressive growth for over 10 years, where from 10-15 members it went to 101, in an area where information sharing and co-operation is paramount and has set new standards.
"You are moving to more formal arrangements to consolidate further this good record of co-operation, collaboration and information exchange in this fight against money laundering and financing of terrorism", the Minister said.
Referring to the Cypriot economy he said that "we are very proud of a very small open economy that is enjoying growing high standards of living. We are now converting towards the European averages, we are at the 85% of EU averages, we have a growth rate of about 4% and unemployment rate of about 3,8%, a budget deficit that is closing well below 3% and we are now set to join Euro on the 1st of January 2008, a very important target for as and is a target that helps as focus around the important goals of micro stability, price stability, of connecting our currency that has been stabled to the Euro. We are also working around other important reforms to make sure that we maintain these high growth rates".
Egmont Group comprises recognised operational Financial Intelligence Units from 101 countries aiming to cooperate with a view to combat money laundering and financing of terrorist activities.