I’m often asked as to whether Cyprus has an existing extradition treaty with the United States. The reality is that if you are asking this question then you should really be considering why you need that information. Extradition is not something to screw around with and could spell deeper problems for you. Does Cyprus Have an Extradition Treaty with the US ? The answer is YES.
Does Cyprus Have an Extradition Treaty with the US
Cyprus has had an extradition treaty with Uncle Sam for quite some time. The original text of the treaty was signed in Washington DC in 1996 and has been in force for many years. The scope of the extradition arrangement is relatively wide and effectively states that any offence, which is an offence in both contracting countries and punishable with 1-year or more of jail time, can be subject to extradition proceedings.
However, similar to many U.S. extradition treaties, the language contains plenty of wiggle room that the American government often uses to its benefit. In particular, they also specify attempted conspiracy, aiding and abetting, counselling, and procuring as extraditable crimes. Subsequently, there is plenty of scope for the US government to claim almost anything as a conspiracy which they have used to great effect in cases like Kim Dot Com.
You can read the full text of the extradition treaty at:
How Has the Cyprus Extradition Treaty Been Used In Practice
As always, the US government really has to want you to go to the extent of extraditing you. There are significant costs and publicity involved around these sorts of requests. So, the State Department typically reserves them for serious cases.
Subsequently, the Cyprus extradition treaty was really only exercised in 2010 for the first time. A Lebanese citizen resident in Cyprus, Ghassan Diab was the first to be extradited using the treaty. He was accused of money laundering and of connections with global terror organizations.
As you can imagine, the State Department was keen to utilize the terms of the treaty, including the conspiracy portions, to extradite this individual. In fact, some of this pressure has led to Cyprus amending its constitution to also allow the extradition of Cypriot citizens, not just residents.
Subsequently, Cyprus is now fully on-board with any US-based extradition request, and you can expect to be on a plane, and in the grips of Uncle Same, in short order. Cyprus has no benefit in protecting you or allowing a long-drawn-out extradition court challenge. The country will bend, and you will be handed over, make no mistake.
The Reality of Cyprus Extraditions to the US
Smaller nations like Cyprus rely upon the global banking system, and access to the US Dollar for their economies to survive. The American government often utilizes this pain point as a way to force change, and potentially extraditions, in those nations.
Subsequently, in the case of Cyprus, pressure has often been brought upon the island nation as a way to clamp down on the Russian money flooding into the jurisdiction. Basically, extraditions are rare but if you are doing something that the US government disapproves of then you are fair game.
Why You Should Change Your Operating Model
If you are in the position of needing to check whether a specific country has an extradition treaty then you should really be taking a long hard look at your activities. You should NEVER put yourself in a position where you have broken the law, especially around taxes.
Getting arrested, or having all of your assets frozen, is just about the worst outcome for any individual, and cheating the system is just not worth it. Especially when there are clear options to structure your tax affair appropriately.
Subsequently, if you are worried about extradition from Cyprus then you need to seek specialist advice from a criminal attorney and attempt to normalize your circumstances. At this point, it is probably something that has gone WAY beyond what I can assist you with.
Does Cyprus Have an Extradition Treaty with the US – Conclusions and Key Takeaways
Firstly, speak to an expert in offshoring before you take any action on the tax and business front. It is a significant step to undertake and it’s important that you do your own due diligence. Digesting the information and changes takes time and is not something you should be making a snap decision on.
Secondly, everything you do and every practice, personal or business, that you undertake should be legal. There is so much scope to alter your affairs to your chosen way of life that there is no need to cheat on your taxes or breach money laundering rules. It is simply not worth looking over your shoulder for the rest of your life!
Finally, when you make the decision to internationalize your life and take action to secure your assets and financial wellbeing, make a clean break. Some of the worst cases I have seen are where people attempt to maintain an onshore/offshore persona and these are, typically, the clients that end up having long-term trouble with the IRS.
Once you make the decision to internalize…then stick with it and do it right!
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