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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2001 > October
Taken Questions
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
October 3, 2001
QUESTION TAKEN AT OCTOBER 3, 2001 DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

Cyprus: Off-Shore Bank Accounts (Taken Question)

QUESTION: What can we say about how Cyprus is dealing with Usama bin Ladenís off-shore bank accounts?

ANSWER: We welcome the government of Cyprus' pledge to support fully the international community in the battle against terrorism. We note that Cypriot authorities have taken steps to tighten up implementation of regulations aimed at identifying and stopping money laundering, including efforts to strengthen its banking laws and regulations to prepare for its bid to join the European Union.

There are press reports that bin Laden used Cyprus and a number of countries for financial transactions. The government of Cyprus made it clear that it will investigate any and all leads seriously and urgently. This is an opportunity for Cyprus to take action that underscores its commitment to work with the international community against terrorism.

In 2000, Cyprus' anti-money laundering regime was the subject of an intensive investigation by the 29 member state Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) "non-cooperative country and territories" exercise. The task force concluded that the Cypriot anti-money laundering regime met all international standards.

The U.S. issues an annual report on efforts around the world to combat money laundering. In this report, we noted the progress made by Cyprus in improving its legal regime to combat money laundering. Our report also notes that effective enforcement of such laws is essential.


Released on October 4, 2001

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