ICC Tri­bunal or­ders CBC to al­low FBME own­ers ac­cess to premises

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

The Ar­bi­tral Tri­bunal at the In­ter­na­tional Cham­ber of Com­merce (ICC) in Paris has or­dered the Cyprus gov­ern­ment to grant the share­hold­ers and di­rec­tors of FBME Bank ac­cess to the lenders premises on the is­land from where they were ex­cluded on March 31 when the Cen­tral Bank of Cyprus sacked 140 em­ploy­ees.

This or­der fol­lows an ear­lier ‘in­vi­ta­tion’ is­sued by the Tri­bunal, ac­cord­ing to an FBME an­nounce­ment.

The ban­ning of the own­ers from the premises and the mass sack­ing of FBME staff were car­ried out by Chris Ia­co­vides, ap­pointed by the CBC as its ad­min­is­tra­tor to run the op­er­a­tions of FBME Bank.

“This is de­spite the fact that Mr Ia­co­vides has no ex­pe­ri­ence in bank­ing and is al­most per­ma­nently ab­sent from the FBME branch premises, though he is be­ing paid from the funds of FBME and its de­pos­i­tors,” the own­ers said in the an­nounce­ment.

“Aware of his lack of bank­ing ex­pe­ri­ence the CBC has per­mit­ted Mr Ia­co­vides to pur­sue his other busi­ness ac­tiv­i­ties, ap­point­ing as his deputy Mar­ios Christodoulides. This move has not much im­proved the sit­u­a­tion with FBME as Mr Christodoulides has no in­ter­na­tional bank­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, be­ing only a for­mer lo­cal branch man­ager of Hel­lenic Bank in Li­mas­sol and an of­fi­cial of the now de­funct Cyprus branch of Em­po­riki bank.”

Ar­bi­tra­tion has been un­der­way at the ICC since the se­cond half of 2014, deal­ing with the FBME own­ers’ claims for com­pen­sa­tion against the Repub­lic of Cyprus un­der the terms of the 2003 in­ter­na­tional agree­ment be­tween Cyprus and Le­banon that pro­tects in­vestor rights in each other’s coun­try. This treaty was breached by the CBC when it took over FBME’s Cyprus branch and the claims for com­pen­sa­tion are set at hun­dreds of mil­lions of eu­ros.

The cen­tral bank had al­leged, based on in­for­ma­tion from the US au­thor­i­ties, that Tan­za­nia-owned FBME was con­duct­ing money-laun­der­ing ac­tiv­i­ties and vi­o­lated in­ter­na­tional sanc­tions im­posed on ter­ror groups from the Mid­dle East and Africa, al­le­ga­tions that have not yet been con­vinc­ingly sub­stan­ti­ated.

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