Cyprus says it's stepping up fight against money laundering

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

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

He says that between 2011 and 2015, 91 individuals were convicted for money laundering offenses, while authorities solved 149 out of 162 such cases this year.

Nicolaou made the statement Thursday following the indictment of U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and business associate Rick Gates for 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.