Cyprus is an island situated in the northeastern Mediterranean Sea at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa. The capital city is Nicosia, which has a population of about 200,000 people.
Cyprus gained independence from Britain in 1960 and adopted a presidential system of Government with elections for the President taking place every 5 years. In 1974 Turkey invaded Cyprus and has since occupied the northern 40% of the island although discussions are currently taking place with a view to reunification of the island.
The official languages are Greek and Turkish but English is widely spoken and is the language mostly used in business, government and the courts. Laws are based on the English legal system and company law is modelled on the UK Companies Act 1948. In addition, Cyprus has been a full member of the European Union since 2004 and adopted the Euro as its currency in 2008.
The island’s entry to the EU in 2004 meant a restructuring of the tax regime, which took place on 1 January 2003. Cyprus has double-tax treaties with more than 40 other countries, including most major Western “high-tax” countries, and most Central and Eastern European states. This is unusual for an international offshore financial center and the effect is that Cyprus is a great location for holding and investment companies aimed at emerging markets.