RPT-In Cyprus port Russian money flows freely

Sunday 24th February, 2013

Sun Feb 24, 2013 12:00am EST

(Repeats story from Friday, no change in text)

* Cypriot port caters to wealthy and middle-class Russians

* Locals, Russians deny accusations of money laundering in Cyprus

By Deepa Babington

LIMASSOL, Cyprus, Feb 24 (Reuters) – In this seaside Cypriot town, an image of the Kremlin’s onion domes adorns the doors of a local mini-market, Ferraris stand ready for hire by wealthy Russians and shops selling mink coats line streets drenched in warm Mediterranean sunshine.

Home to over 30,000 Russians who began flocking to Cyprus after the Soviet Union’s collapse and catering to many more tourists each year, locals jokingly refer to the town, complete with Russian signs and schools, as “Limassolgrad”.

“Cyprus is a fantastic place to do business from – people are friendly and for Russians it’s very convenient because every single person in Limassol speaks some Russian,” said Vadim Romanov, a 28-year-old Russian property developer who says he also has business interests in restaurants in the town. …

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