Under new guidelines issued by the Central Bank of Cyprus, the requirements for the acquisition of shares and/or share options and/or rights issues of banking institutions listed on the Cyprus Stock Exchange are as follows:
- The total participation by non-Cypriot residents, ie Cypriot expatriates and aliens not residing in Cyprus, in the capital of a banking institution cannot exceed 15% of the issued share capital. However, the participation of non-resident aliens cannot exceed 6%.
- The highest permitted percentage of participation in the capital of a bank by a non-resident is 0.5% per person or organization. When calculating this percentage, account will be taken of the shares held by the investor's spouse, children or companies in which their joint shareholding represents at least 20% of the share capital. Cypriot expatriates can only invest in their personal capacity.
- The settlement of the acquisition of shares and/or share options and/or rights issues will be made in imported currency converted into Cyprus pounds. Evidence of the importation of funds must be produced on settlement and such documents can be requested by the Central Bank of Cyprus for audit purposes. Payment may also be effected with funds deposited in blocked accounts with Cypriot Banks on presentation by the bank of the account details for confirmation purposes. Any transfer of shares, whether to residents or non-residents, may only be effected with the prior approval of the Exchange Control Department of the Central Bank. The proceeds from the sale of shares acquired from blocked account funds must be again deposited in a blocked account and be subject to the usual exchange control. Settlements in cash in excess of C£5000 (US$9,750) from cash imported into Cyprus and declared at customs must have the prior consent of the Central Bank of Cyprus.
- Any transfer of shares by a non-resident to a non-resident, other than shares settled from blocked account funds, can be effected by referring the matter to the Central Bank, provided the transfer will also be subject to the limitations on the percentage of participation set out above.
Non-residents who intend to trade in the Cyprus Stock Exchange on a regular basis should maintain a Cyprus pound external account with a local bank which can be used for the purchase and sale of shares and/or bonds.
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