Until last week when Eurozone officials began demanding the Cypriot government confiscate up to 9.9 percent of bank deposits to secure a 10 billion euros ($13 billion) Cyprus was a favorite tax and money-laundering haven for foreigners, especially Russians, critics complained.
It’s been a favorite place for Russian tycoons to park their billions and take advantage of a low corporate tax rate of 10%, and then reinvest in Russia to avoid double taxation. In 2012, some $60 billion was then reportedly transferred from Russia, much of that to Cyprus, the German news magazine Spiegel reported, publishing a list of some of the richest Russians who prefer Cypriot banks. They include:
- Roman Abramovich, owner of the Chelsea soccer team in England. His fortune is estimated at $14.6 billion. He runs the investment company Evraz through the Cyprus brand Lanebrook
- Michael Prochorof, former presidential candidate. His property worth is $13 billion. In 2008 he stated Cyprus as the head office of the company Intergeo Management
- Vladimir Lisin is a steel tycoon with a fortune of $15.9 billion, and who has the largest amount of his business in Novolipetsk through the Cypriot company Fletcher Holding
- Alexei also Morntasof, also a steel baron, $15.3 billion
- Vladimir Potanin, $14.5 billion
- Vagkit Alekperof, an oil company owner, $13.5 billion
- Suleiman Kerimof, a mining tycoon with a fortune estimated at $6.5 billion
- Aliser Ousmanof, an internet businessman and Prime Minister Dimitri Medvedev’s friend with an $18.1 billion
- Batourina Elena, wife of the former Moscow Mayor Yury Louskof, whose property worth is $1 billion
- Dmitry Rimpolovlef, the biggest shareholder of Cyprus Bank, also the owner of the Monaco football team. His property is more than $9 billion
Last year, more than 3,000 Learjets landed and took off from Cyprus, 375 of which were going in Russia and 245 to Great Britain, while 108 went to Ukraine.