Friday, December 11, 2015


Lebanese-owned FBME Bank Ltd. (Cyprus), more commonly known by its former name, the Federal Bank of the Middle East, has been fined 1.2m Euros, by the Central Bank of Cyprus, for both money laundering, and terrorist financing, deficiencies. This action has been expected for some time, though the size of the fine was a surprise.

 The bank had previously been listed, by the United States, as a financial institution of Primary Money Laundering Concern, and denied access to the American financial structure. The US action contained findings of fact:
(1) The bank was involved in the financing of Hezbollah, a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity.
(2) The bank did business with organized crime.
(3) The bank allowed known fraudsters to operate accounts there.
(4)  The bank was engaged in sanctions evasion activities involving Syria.

FBME, a subsidiary of a Lebanese bank, operated in Cyprus, though it has gone through a number of jurisdictional relocations, including a period where it was domiciled in the Cayman Islands. Its current base is in Tanzania, though 90% of its business was through its Cyprus branch. 

Readers who wish to review the complete text of the Central Bank statement oh the imposition of the fine can access it here.

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