Clarification: The ICC’s International Arbitral tribunal orders the Republic of Cyprus to permit access to FBME’s Premises to the Bank’s Owners and Directors

7 August 2016

By two decisions dated 27 May and 26 July 2016, the Arbitral Tribunal constituted in the ICC arbitration opposing Messrs. Ayoub Farid Michel Saab and Fadi Saab, the owners of FBME, to the Republic of Cyprus, decided that the Claimants shall be granted access to the premises of the Branch during regular business hours.  Various public statements have recently been issued by the Cypriot authorities in relation to these decisions.  These statements can only be characterised as misleading.

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ICC’s Arbitral Tribunal Orders CBC to Permit Access to FBME’s Premises to the Bank’s Owners and Directors

1 August 2016

The Arbitral Tribunal at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris has ordered the Republic of Cyprus to grant the shareholders and directors of FBME Bank access to the FBME premises in Cyprus. They were excluded on 31 March 2016 at the same time as the Central Bank of Cyprus (CBC) sacked 140 FBME employees in Cyprus.

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U.S. Judge Orders STAY

22 July 2016

On 22 July, 2016, Judge Cooper of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered “that implementation of final rule [imposing sanctions against FBME Bank] be STAYED until further notice from this Court.”  As such, FinCEN’s latest rule will not take effect while the parties await further word from the Court.  Judge Cooper’s stay order II is attached here.

Equality before the Law? Not with CBC or FinCEN

20 July 2016

At the end of last week it was announced by the Central Bank of Cyprus (CBC) that Hellenic Bank, a financial institution registered in the Republic of Cyprus, had failed to comply with anti-money laundering and terrorist financing legislation, and ‘know-your-customer’ obligations. These omissions or weaknesses, said the CBC, arose from “… on-site examinations conducted in September 2014, covering Hellenic Bank’s activities in the preceding years.”

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Asset Disposal Warning

25 June 2016

FBME Limited, the holding company of FBME Bank Limited (the “Bank”), has learned that the CBC-appointed Special Administrator of the Bank’s Cyprus Branch is attempting to sell assets that are property of the Bank. The efforts to dispose of Bank assets are taking place without the knowledge or consent of the Bank’s Statutory Manager in Tanzania and the Bank’s home regulator.

Furthermore, these acts of the Special Administrator are occurring at a time when the Cyprus Supreme Court has yet to rule on the CBC’s application to liquidate the Bank. In short, the Special Administrator lacks the legal authority to dispose of Bank assets and is not therefore able to give good title to any prospective purchaser of such assets.

In order to protect the rights of the Bank, its depositors and owners, any purported transfer of Bank assets will accordingly be the subject of legal proceedings to set it aside in due course and prospective purchasers of such assets are put on notice of the same.

Administrative Court Decision Deemed Insignificant

27 May 2016

A ruling by Cyprus’s Administrative Court to reject the application from FBME Bank Limited to suspend the planned moves of the Central Bank of Cyprus to revoke the license of FBME’s local branch has been declared insignificant. FBME’s original application was made nearly 21 months ago to the Cyprus Supreme Court, and was in the form of a request for an interim judgment. The Administrative Court actually heard the case to relieve the backlog in the Supreme Court, and it is known that the Administrative Court does not usually grant interim measures.

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CBC’s Request for Personal Details Defies the Law

24 May 2016

The recent communication from the Central Bank of Cyprus (CBC) to account holders of the Cyprus branch of FBME Bank defies the law and all legal precedent, says FBME. The communication, called by the CBC a “statement of depositors’ particulars”, asks account holders to submit personal details and is a backdoor approach to have them apply for deposit guarantee payouts without being made aware that they are doing so.

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Head of US FinCEN Resigns

2 May 2016

The head of the US Department of the Treasury’s FinCEN agency, Jennifer Shasky Calvery is to leave the organisation, it has been announced. According to a FinCEN statement her last day will be 27 May 2016.

She joined FinCEN in 2012 and has led the agency in its recent controversial attacks on banking institutions, including FBME Bank, for what it claims are weak anti-money laundering controls. These claims against FBME Bank are currently the subject of legal actions in US courts.

Ms Shasky Calvery is said to be joining HSBC Bank.

Just 120 FBME depositors apply for DPS

30 April 2016

It has been confirmed that just 120 out of 6,500 insured depositors of FBME Bank’s branch in Cyprus have applied to the Central Bank of Cyprus (CBC) under its deposit protection scheme. This scheme pays a maximum of EUR 100,000 to each named account holder in a stricken bank – anything above this amount is lost.

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