FBME bank loses appeal against Cyprus

The Paris-based arbitration court of the International Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday ruled in favour of the Republic of Cyprus in an appeal filed against the country by the owners of FBME bank.

The owners of the bank, which lost the licence of its Cyprus branch in December 2015, appealed to the court seeking €1.5bln in damages from the Republic of Cyprus, citing its failure to protect their investment.

In a statement on Tuesday, Central Bank of Cyprus (CBC) spokesperson, Aliki Stylianou, said that they were “completely satisfied” with the court’s ruling.

“It shows the correct decisions were made by the management and staff of the Central Bank of Cyprus,” she said.

The Law Office of the Republic also welcomed the decision, saying “it confirms that the Central Bank of Cyprus acted as a prudent supervisory authority and that the Republic did not violate any of its obligations”.

FBME bank in Cyprus has been placed under resolution by the CBC in July 2014, following a US treasury report that the bank was implicated in money laundering.

CBC issued an announcement at the time saying it had issued a decree by which it has placed the Tanzania-based bank’s branch in Cyprus under a state of resolution “with the aim of the protection of depositors.” The decree followed a suspension of the bank’s operations by the CBC and the taking over of its management.

The US Treasury report listed a number of suspicious transactions and legal violations from FBME, including allegations that a bank customer “received a deposit of hundreds of thousands of dollars from a financier for Lebanese Hezbollah.”