Cyprus parliament to vote on savings levy

By REUTERS
March 17, 2013 02:22

 
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NICOSIA - Cyprus's parliament will decide on Sunday whether savers must pay a levy on bank deposits under terms for an international bailout to avert bankruptcy - with approval far from certain.

The euro zone demand on Saturday that savers pay up to 10 percent of deposits as a condition for the 10 billion euro ($13 billion) bailout drew fury in the eastern Mediterranean island and caused some jitters elsewhere in the region.

Cypriots emptied cash points after news emerged of bailout terms which broke a previous euro zone taboo on protecting depositors in its efforts to address the regional debt crisis.

Newly elected Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said refusing the bailout would have led to the collapse of the island's two largest banks, badly singed by their exposure to bailed out neighbor Greece.

The tax on deposits in Cyprus, which accounts for only 0.2 percent of the euro zone's economy, is expected to raise up to 6 billion euros as a condition for the bailout, mainly needed to recapitalize banks.

Those affected will include rich Russians with deposits in Cyprus and Europeans who have retired to the island as well as Cypriots themselves.

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