Cyprus Mail

Five years after FBME was closed I’ve not had a cent returned of my life savings

Five years ago, the US Financial Enforcement Network made a statement regarding what they thought were abnormalities with the Cyprus branch of FBME Bank.

This was a solvent and highly successful bank which I understand assisted during the last bank crisis in 2013-14

The Central Bank of Cyprus then stepped in and took over the administration of the bank with almost immediate effect without notice.

The result was a freezing of all clients’ funds mainly people living in other European countries.

I opened an account with FBME through recommendation. The bank was solvent and I found the bank well run. The account I had was all my family savings

FBME was used because of tax efficiency. The account was legitimate and tax compliant.

Since this episode I have struggled to make a living and to keep my home. I have had to borrow to scrape by. I and my wife have had health issues and we are still, five years later, unable to get to our funds in this bank. This has virtually destroyed our lives.

Presumably the action taken by the Cyprus Central Bank was to control the bank funds in answer to the US accusations. They appear to have virtually ignored the innocent bank depositors to give priority to the US’ issues.

No information is given to the depositors by the Central Bank. We do not know what is happening except we cannot get funds which belong to us.

Meanwhile the Central Bank is keeping the bank staffed although there is really nothing to do. Also it would appear that bank funds – our money – are paying these wages.

I am 78 years old and will probably not see my money.

Surely this is very, very wrong to have this uncaring attitude.

History has taught me that Cyprus is not a safe place for investment. Government actions appear to be taken without notice. Foreign residents should realise these risks. I personally would feel very insecure living in Cyprus.

Harvey Bergson, UK

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