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Russian companies fleeing Cyprus amid FBI investigation into sanctions evasion

Russian companies fleeing Cyprus amid FBI investigation into sanctions evasion Photo: Russian сompanies begin leaving Cyprus (Getty Images)

Russian companies are reportedly leaving Cyprus following the island's initiation of investigations into Russian sanctions evasion. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the United States has taken an interest in the activities of Russian oligarchs in Cyprus, reports The Moscow Times.

TCS Group Holding, the main company of Tinkoff Bank, owned by the sanctioned oligarch Vladimir Potanin, recently announced plans to leave Cyprus.

"From Cyprus, where TCS Group has been registered since 2006, the company plans to move to one of the 'Russian offshore' zones created on the islands of Oktyabrsky in Kaliningrad and Russian in Primorsky Krai," says the article.

Today, shareholders of Etalon Group are expected to decide on relocating from Cyprus to Russia. Etalon Group is one of the largest real estate development companies in Russia.

The main shareholder of Etalon is the Russian oligarch Vladimir Yevtushenkov, who is under sanctions from the UK and Ukraine.

Americans will help Cyprus overcome sanctions evasion

Since the beginning of 2023, at least ten major Russian companies have decided to leave Cyprus.

These companies are leaving the island amid the visit of agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to assist Cyprus in addressing the methods used by Russians to evade sanctions. According to reports, along with officials from the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), they intend to help the local authorities deal with the ways Russians avoid sanctions.

"The Cypriot authorities began investigating the Russian presence on the island in the spring, opening a total of 29 cases after the U.S. and the UK imposed sanctions in April against 13 companies and individuals implicated in hiding the assets of oligarchs," the material states.

Russia is circumventing sanctions

Recently, Russia signed a declaration with Iran on "counteracting" sanctions imposed by the United States, the EU, and several other countries.

Media reports have also revealed that, following the start of the full-scale Russian aggression, luxury cars, the export of which is prohibited due to sanctions imposed by Western companies, started to be imported to Russia from Belarus.

Recently, the European Union proposed criminalizing sanctions evasion within the bloc. Those found aiding Russia in evading sanctions could face up to five years in prison.