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Cyprus 'stepping up' fight against money laundering following Paul Manafort indictment. Yiannis Kourtoglou/Reuters

Cyprus' justice minister has defended the island nation's track record against money laundering, saying it has beefed-up its laws against the practice.

Ionas Nicolaou said the European money laundering watchdog Moneyval gives Cyprus high marks for its efforts and for fixing identified weaknesses faster than expected.

Nicolaou made the statement late on Thursday (2 November) following the indictment of US President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and business associate Rick Gates, for alleged money laundering and other financial crimes related to their political consulting work for Ukraine's former ruling party.

The indictment named Cyprus as a conduit for money that Manafort received from Ukraine.

However, Nicolaou pointed out that between 2011 and 2015, 91 individuals were convicted for money laundering offences, while authorities solved 149 out of 162 such cases this year.