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Money laundering charge for Lloyds TSB

Lloyds TSB, one of the UK's largest banks, has been charged in the United States with knowingly helping an international fugitive launder millions of dollars.

Lloyds could have to pay out around £64m if found guilty, while the Bank of Cyprus, which has also been charged, could face a fine of £79m. The case centres around Lycourgos Kyprianou, the founder and former chairman of software maker AremisSoft, who now lives in Cyprus following his indictment for fraud.

According to the prosecution, Kyprianou laundered hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of proceeds from June 2000 to at least January 2004. According to the US attorney prosecuting the case, a number of senior managers at Lloyds TSB intentionally helped conceal Kyprianou's identity by letting him set up accounts under the names of "CEI" and "UG Business".

This was allegedly done well after the widely publicised downfall of AremisSoft and the indictment of Kyprianou and others for securities fraud. By law the bank has a responsibility to act with "caution and due diligence" when considering suspicious transactions - a requirement the prosecution claims the bank "disregarded".

Lloyds TSB spokeswoman Eleanor Ross said: "We do not believe there is any basis for this action. We intend to defend the action vigorously, and are confident the bank's stance will be vindicated".

The Bank of Cyprus has also denied the allegations. It said: "The bank does not expect any significant financial or business consequences as a result of such actions because the civil claims are - in its view - factually and legally without merit".

Source: Sky News
Date: 17.10.2007 [117]

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