The CEO of the Bank of Cyprus, Panicos Nicolaou, expressed the view that individuals and entities subject to sanctions should seek exemption from international authorities in order for banks to allow payments from frozen accounts to business entities.
During the announcement of Bank of Cyprus' financial results for the first quarter of 2023, when asked about the "blocking" of bank accounts resulting in the inability to make payments to employees working for entities affected since April, Mr. Nicolaou emphasized that banks are effectively implementing the sanctions imposed by the United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe. He commented, "The bank should not seek any permission to pay a sanctioned or frozen entity. It is the responsibility of the frozen entity itself to request some form of exemption."
Meanwhile, Mr. Nicolaou commented that even if a frozen entity receives an exemption to pay salaries, it will be a measure that will be implemented sporadically. "The President of the Republic said it is a good opportunity to resolve the issue of sanctions, and I agree," said Mr. Nicolaou.
"It is the responsibility of the frozen entity itself to request some form of exemption."
Regarding the closure of customer accounts by the Bank of Cyprus at the time the sanctions were announced, the Director of Compliance of Bank of Cyprus, Marios Skandalis, provided an explanation, stating that the decision to close 4,000 accounts was unrelated to the sanctions announced in mid-April. "The decisions to close the accounts of 4,000 Russians residing in Russia were made by the Board of Directors in late March," he explained. He further clarified that these accounts were deemed "high risk," and the bank proceeded with this decision.
[This article was translated from its Greek original]