UPDATE 1-Cyprus says places FBME bank branch under administration

Mon Jul 21, 2014 5:59pm EDT

(Adds background, details of allegations)

NICOSIA, July 22 (Reuters) - Cyprus on Monday said it had placed the local branch of Tanzania-based bank FBME under administration, after concerns previously expressed by the United States that it was a conduit for money laundering.

The purpose of the resolution injunction was to sell branch assets for the protection of depositors, the Cypriot central bank said in a statement. FBME has two branches in Cyprus.

On July 18, the Cypriot central bank said it had placed the FBME branches in Cyprus under its control, following a report from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN ) of the U.S. Treasury describing the bank as a 'primary money laundering concern'.

FBME, which is headquartered in Tanzania, had denied the allegations, saying the US Treasury had compiled the report without its input.

The U.S. Treasury alleged FBME was modelled around weak anti-laundering controls, and had openly advertised to potential clients as such. (Reporting by Michele Kambas; Editing by Chris Reese and Lisa Shumaker)

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