FBME Bank’s submission to the US Department of the Treasury’s FinCEN bureau in Washington has started.
The Cyprus Central Bank took over administration of FBME in July, following a US Treasury report describing the lender as a ‘primary money laundering concern’.
The bank has responded to FinCEN in a 28-page public comment from FBME’s lawyers, Hogan Lovells, released on Tuesday.
The response states that the forensic accountants from Ernst and Young (EY) in their assessment of FBME’s compliance programme observed that the bank’s procedures “incorporates the requirements” of the relevant laws.
These laws were the EU’s Third Money Laundering Directive and the fourth issue of the Central Bank of Cyprus’s directive to credit institutions in accordance with Article 59(4) of the Prevention and Suppression of Money Laundering Activities of 2007 to 2013.
EY’s assessment further reported that FBME has “protocols in place that allow the Bank to continuously keep the programme aligned with the legal requirements”, according to the statement.
It added that FBME had also restated its commitment to continuing to cooperate with the governments of the US, Cyprus and Tanzania in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.
Recommendations have been made in areas where its compliance programme can be improved, which the bank has already committed to implementing, it said.
The submission of the full forensics report is expected to take place over the next few days. FinCEN will then study it and make a final announcement within 60 days.
FBME is seeking a change of policy on the part of the Central Bank of Cyprus and wants to see the rescinding of the Resolution measures on the Cyprus branch, to allow depositors to have access to their funds on a proper basis, and to abandon ideas of an expropriation and sale of the Cyprus branch.