British regulators have shut down 100 accounts in the Bank of Cyprus UK subsidiary that were considered as high risk accounts, according to Central Bank governor Panicos Demetriades, with a leading opposition deputy saying the number could be as high as 130.
Demetriades told MPs during a meeting of the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday that the accounts had been closed as part of anti-money laundering checks on politically exposed persons (PEPs) who were considered high risk customers.
However, opposition Akel MP Irene Charalambidou said on Wednesday she had information that the accounts totalled 130, but could not reveal the names of the account holders, nor when these were opened, until they get an official response from the Bank of Cyprus itself.
She suggested that some of the names may not be politicians, but they are PEPs “who have been involved in other cases in recent months.”
Charalambidou even appealed to the 130 account holders to “come forward and come clean” if in fact they could justify these accounts, that are suspected to have been opened just before and after the Eurogroup decision in March to impose a haircut on all bank deposits in Cyprus as part of a 10 bln euro bailout plan.
Committee chairman Demetris Syllouris said that parliament has asked for more data on the accounts, adding that “if there is any information that we must discuss publicly we will do so”.
He added that the all-party committee will have a meeting next Tuesday with Attorney General Costas Clerides to discuss the matter further.
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