Tax on Cyprus Depositors 'Inevitable,' Euro Chief Says

Geert Vanden Wijngaert, APDutch Finance Minister and leader of the eurogroup Jeroen Dijsselbloem says a deal to bail out Cyprus banks with a tax on depositors isn't yet dead, despite a unanimous vote by Cypriot lawmakers against such a levy this week.
By Robin Emmott

BRUSSELS -- Russia isn't going to come to Cyprus's rescue with new loans and any bailout of the Mediterranean island will have to involve some kind of levy on depositors, the man leading the eurozone's efforts to reach a deal said on Thursday.

Cyprus has faced the prospect of bankruptcy since Tuesday when its parliament voted unanimously against a levy on bank deposits to raise almost €6 billion ($7.5 billion) demanded by the eurozone, in addition to a €10 billion rescue.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who chairs meetings of eurozone finance ministers, said the deal offered early on Saturday wasn't dead and that there were few alternatives for Cyprus.

"It's probably inevitable there will be some kind of levy in the final package that we will agree upon," Dijsselbloem told the European Parliament.

"The levy I can strongly defend, because it is a direct way to ask a contribution of the deposits of the banking sector in Cyprus, which is inevitable if you want to a build a package which doesn't bring more loans and more debt to Cyprus," he said.

Warning that the problems in Cyprus pose a systemic risk to the eurozone, he said he hoped Cyprus could agree a fairer balance between depositors in their contribution to helping the country out of its difficulties.

"The vast amount of deposits in Cyprus are not really savers, they are investors," Dijsselbloem said.

At the center of the furor is a proposal that puts the levy on both savers with under €100,000 on deposit as well as those over that level. Since there is in theory insurance on deposits up to €100,000 , the plan would hit small savers.

Dijsselbloem said he and his eurozone peers had urged Nicosia to avoid hitting accounts below €100,000 and to instead increase the levy on big accounts.

"The Eurogroup thinks it's very important that we should have a fair burden share, and that means a larger contribution from large depositors than, of course, from small depositors."

Dijsselbloem said Cyprus should not hold out hope that Moscow will come to the country's rescue if it cannot seal a deal with the Eurogroup, saying an extension of a Russian 2.5 billion loan was under discussion.

"Any other options, to go further, another loan or an investment in the banks, the Russians let us know that they are not willing to do that. "Of course, the Cypriot government is now talking to the Russian government whether more can be done, I don't know the outcome of that yet.

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A loan is a financial transaction in which one party the lender agrees to give another party the borrower a specific amount of money which must be paid back in full.

September 14 2013 at 2:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A reverse mortgage is a loan that enables senior homeowners, ages 62 and older to convert part of their home equity into tax-free* income—without having to sell their home, give up title to it, or make required monthly mortgage payments.

April 05 2013 at 4:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Cyprus government's move on it's citizens savings should come as no surprise to Americans. This is the model for America being discussed behind closed doors at the executive level of our own government. No private asset is off the table...Your savings, your pensions, your safety deposit boxes, your 401Ks, your trust funds, your patents, your kid's college money, your property etc... Why you surely ask? Well, there is no money. As you may or may not know, our government borrows approx. $25 billion Dollars a month just to pay for day to day expenses and social obligations. The interest rate alone on that borrowed money is already over $3 trillion. The crash of the stock market is inevitable when the Quantitative Easing program of the Federal Reserve at $85 billion a month (printing of Fiat Dollars) by issuing Treasury Bonds or worthless IOU's, comes to an end as it is unsustainable. Hyper-inflation will then kick in as the near zero interest rates shoot to the stratosphere. All the players involved hope to be in a safe place with their gold and as far away from major centers of population as they can as the subsequent economic and societal collapse comes. This is the real reason for the government's attempt to ban and eventually confiscate all the firearms they can before, or so they hope, confronting an armed and pissed off citizenry as this would be detrimental to their retention of power and authority.

Semper Fi

March 21 2013 at 12:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What possible reason would there be for ANYONE to put their money in a bank in Cyprus??

March 21 2013 at 11:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply