Cyprus Hides Bank Transfer ID’s

Depositors whose money was seized by the Bank of Cyprus protested in vain

NICOSIA – Reversing an earlier vote, the Cypriot Parliament’s House Ethic Committee said it won’t reveal the names of some 11,000 people who transferred money to foreign banks just days before the government said it was moving ahead to seize much of the assets of bank account depositors.

President Nicos Anastasiades, reneging on a campaign pledge last year to hold the account holders harmless for the country’s burgeoning economic crisis, approved a program to let banks take 47.5 percent of accounts of more than 100,000 euros ($137,000).

It was not revealed whether the people who spirited their money out of Cypriot banks had insider information that protected their money from being confiscated, who they were or how much they hid in the transfers.

The committee decided by majority vote to give the Central Bank governor more time to process the data. Committee Chairman Demetris Syllouris rejected claims of a cover-up, saying in-depth investigations are continuing and a decision will be made in June about whether to release the names. He didn’t say why they shouldn’t be revealed.

After the confiscation scheme was announced, the government imposed capital controls with a 300 euro ($416) daily limit on withdrawals. That is set to be lifted sometime later this year.

The confiscation led to protests of state banks to no avail.