Police on Friday raided the premises of FBME Bank in Nicosia and in Limassol, looking for evidence of money laundering, OCCRP — the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project reported citing two sources.
One source said evidence was taken and will be evaluated. A second source told OCCRP that the police had made no arrests. “We questioned the employees who were inside,” the source said and added that officers had made “copies of the servers” and searched for documents.
The investigation concerns “many cases” of legalization of illegal proceeds from various activities, including drug smuggling, as well as terrorism financing, he explained, adding that the bank’s owners had not been questioned yet.
The raided bank’s headquarters is in Tanzania and has two service points in Cyprus.
In July 2014, the US Treasury’s Financial Crime Enforcement Network described FBME Bank as a “financial institution of primary money laundering concern” . The Central Bank fined and later revoked the licence of its branch which performed 90 per cent of its business. In May 2017, the Bank of Tanzania also revoked the bank’s licence.
The bank denied any wrongdoing and resorted to arbitration but the judges of the Paris-based arbitration court of the International Chamber of Commerce dismissed their requests.
OCCRP said attorney-general Costas Clerides and a spokesperson of the Central Bank of Cyprus declined to comment on Friday’s raid.