The House Intelligence Committee sent one of its members to Cyprus this week as part of its ongoing investigation into Russia and the Trump campaign, adding a new twist to the ongoing inquiry.
“Cyprus has a reputation as a laundromat for the Russians who are trying to avoid sanctions,” Rep. Mike Quigley told The Daily Beast. “It was extraordinarily helpful in understanding how the Russians launder money and why.”
The Democratic congressman did not go into detail about what he found during his four-day trip to the Mediterranean country. But publicly available reporting hints at how Cyprus may be tied to the committee’s investigation.
The Trump administration’s Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, was involved in a business deal with a Russian businessman with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin while he was the vice-chairman of the Bank of Cyprus.
And last month the Associated Press reported that Treasury Department agents obtained bank transaction information involving former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, specifically transactions going through Cyprus, which AP described as “known as a haven for money laundering by Russian billionaires.”
Cyprus has not been a primary topic of discussion within the scope of the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian influence in the U.S. presidential elections, but Quigley said that the country played a significant role.
“The fact that Turkey, the U.S and Russia and other countries are really interested in Cyprus, because of its strategic location… the fact that Russians launder their money there to avoid sanctions, and the fact that key U.S. and Russia players were there—all make it really important for the Russia investigation,” Quigley explained.