The Central Bnak appointed Administrator is permitting a daily withdrawal by FBME (Cyprus) clients of up to 10,000 euros with three conditions:
- Cheque withdrawals only
- Payable to the same name as the account at FBME
- To be deposited at another local Cyprus bank
Cyprus’s central bank assumed control of FBME’s local branches in July after a division of the U.S. Treasury described the bank as a “primary money laundering concern”.
Although the bank is headquartered in Tanzania, the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has said that most of its activities are conducted through its Cypriot branches. According to FinCEN, the bank also came under scrutiny by Cypriot authorities in 2013 for allegedly circumventing currency controls imposed by Cyprus in the wake of an international bailout that year.
FBME’s Lebanese shareholders deny the allegation of money laundering and have hired lawyers and auditors to fight them.
Work at the bank has come to a virtual standstill since the U.S. Treasury report was released in mid-July and Cypriot authorities took over, announcing days later that the bank was being placed under resolution for its eventual sale.
Cypriot authorities say they had to act because as a result of the U.S. report the bank could not access a pan-European payments system known as SEPA, while an administrator appointed in Tanzania, suspended operation of SWIFT payments