Cyprus' close ties with Moscow stretch back decades. Most of the â¿¬24 billion Cypriot banks hold in non-resident deposits comes from Russia, while billions in Russian money is reinvested back into the country through Cyprus.
Those ties have given rise to allegations, mainly from Germany, that Cypriot banks are laundering dirty Russian cash and are acting as havens for tax dodgers. Cypriot officials insist the country gets high marks from international anti-money laundering organizations. But German opposition politicians are insisting they see the results of an independent audit of the Cyprus' banks before they approve any bailout.
"The results of the audit need to be made available before the German Parliament votes on the aid package for Cyprus. Promises to improve things alone aren't enough. We deputies need to know what we are voting on," said Joachim Poss, deputy parliamentary chairman of the opposition Social Democrats (SPD) in a statement.
____Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed.