Tanzania’s central bank said on Friday it had taken over the management of a bank accused by the US government of large-scale money laundering.
The decision comes after the Central Bank of Cyprus placed two branches of FBME Bank under its control following a report from the US Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) describing the bank as a “primary money laundering concern.”
Tanzania’s central bank said it took control of FBME Bank on Thursday because of the potential effect of the Cypriot move on Tanzania’s own banking system.
It said FBME’s four branches in the east African country would remain open for business.
“The objective underlying this decision … is to ensure safety of customers’ deposits and safeguard the entire banking system,” it said in a statement.
Family-owned FBME Bank – which also has a representative office in Russia – has denied the US allegations and accused the Cypriot central bank of a “hostile takeover.”
It said its lawyers had already made contact with US authorities and that FinCEN had compiled the report without its input. [Reuters]