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By Rachel Marsden
In exchange for the
Cyprus accepted a
Foreigners hold an estimated 40 percent of the cash in Cyprus banks, most of it belonging to Russians. It's not hard to imagine why, when a 10 percent corporate tax rate is available to anyone willing to spend
What's the nature of this cash, exactly? Seedy-to-filthy at best. In February, the EU's Financial Intelligence Unit launched an investigation into whether Russian mafia cash had been laundered through EU banks. And late last year, according to Russia's own RIA Novosti state media, Cyprus opened an investigation into whether
Cypriot and Russian authorities have been playing the EU and the rest of the world for fools since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Both say they want to fight corruption, though they never seem to get around to actually doing anything about it. When American intelligence busted a Russian spy ring in 2010 -- which most famously included redheaded Anna Chapman -- the alleged moneyman and SVR (Russian foreign intelligence) point man, Pavel Kapustin (alias: Christopher Metsos), was nabbed on an
In early 2012, the Guardian reported that a Russian transport ship carrying 60 tons of ammunition purchased by the Syrian government from state-controlled Russian munitions exporter Rosoboronexport pulled into the Cypriot port in a storm and, despite being in clear violation of sanctions, was sent back on its way by Cyprus authorities.
Similarly, key Russian trade partner Iran has long circumvented sanctions through Cypriot front companies. Intelligence Online reported last year: "According to our sources, one of the traders supplying Syria is the small Cypriot company
There are 19 Iranian front companies circumventing U.S. sanctions via Cyprus, according to the
If Russia does offer Cyprus another bailout, it will be because Russia fears the revelations and strategic losses that would result from the tiny nation moving squarely into the Western sphere of influence. No doubt Putin has been hoping to get the EU to pay the bill for propping up Russian business accounts, backed by Russian banks, in Cyprus. Any cash Russia offers will come under the guise of "fighting corruption," of course. "Don't worry, we'll take care of this cleanup. Nothing to see here, so please don't look."
Sure. Russia has done such a crack job with that so far. The EU is finally trying to do right.
© Tribune Media Services, Inc., "A European Bailout Unlike Any Other"
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