Cyprus committee halts probe into bank transfers

A parliamentary committee looking into who transferred money out of Cyprus before the island’s banking system was locked down in March suspended its probe on Tuesday, complaining of not being given all the data it had demanded from the central bank.

The report it was given showed that 6,000 individuals and legal entities withdrew tens of millions of euros in cash from Cypriot banks and sent it abroad in the period from March 1-15.

The head of the Cypriot Parliament’s ethics committee, which was due to look into a list detailing transfers of more than 100,000 euros from the two major banks – Bank of Cyprus and Cyprus Popular Bank – said the list fell short of what he had requested.

“It was with great disappointment and anger that, when we opened the envelope, we realized it contained data for only 15 days even though we had asked for a year,” lawmaker Demetris Syllouris told reporters.

“This kind of behavior is unacceptable.”

Underscoring tensions in relations between the central bank and Cyprus’s one-month-old center-right government, the government also withdrew the appointment of the deputy central bank governor who supplied the data.

Spyros Stavrinakis’s appointment, made by the previous leftist administration, was based on “faulty legal reasoning,” the government said.