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Large withdrawals from Cyprus banks under scrutiny

6,000 depositors withdrew large sums days before bank lock-down

Cyprus' parliamentary ethics committee has received a list of 6,000 depositors who transferred large sums from the Bank of Cyprus and Laiki Bank before the country's banking system was locked down - but says it has not been given all the data requested in order to look in to potential favourable loans.

Bank of Cyprus (Reuters) Bank of Cyprus (Reuters) A list containing the names of 6,000 individuals and companies who withdrew large sums of money from the country's two major banks before March 15 has been sent to the Cypriot parliament's ethics committee.

The list details transfers of over 100,000 euros from Bank of Cyprus and Laiki Bank during the first two weeks of March, just days before the country's banking system was locked down.

However, the committee looking into the list suspended its probe on Tuesday, complaining that it had not been given all the data requested from the central bank.

Head of the committee Demetris Syllouris said he had requested a list of people who transferred money dating back a year because the committee wants to look into possible loans given with favourable terms.

"It was with great disappointment and anger that, when we opened the envelope, we realised it contained data for only 15 days, even though we had asked for a year," Syllouris told reporters. "This kind of behaviour is unacceptable."

In a letter to Syllouris, then central bank deputy governor Spyros Stavrinakis said he was only attaching a list of individuals and companies who transferred money out of Cyprus between March 1-15 this year.

"We believe your request would lead to a huge volume of information, which would possibly not help the aim of your committee," Stavrinakis said. This included foreign companies that transfer large sums of money each day, as well as Cypriots who bought property, he said.

Stavrinakis was appointed by the former communist administration three weeks before it lost power in a February election, a move the then opposition decried as political.

Syllouris also expressed doubt that the list he received, which included the names of about 6,000 individuals and companies that shifted money abroad, was complete.

"The wording of the letter has caused concern that not all names are included," he said.

Asked if it included the names of politicians or political parties, Syllouris said: "When we study it we will let you know."

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Banking
Laiki Bank
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