March 24, 2013
Cyprus is preparing to seize up to a fifth of the value of wealthy savers’ bank accounts in a desperate attempt to stave off financial meltdown.
The planned raid will be put to Europe’s finance chiefs in Brussels for approval on Sunday evening, hours before the deadline set for an agreement without which the European Central Bank will remove support for the island’s banks.
Their collapse would set Cyprus on a path to becoming the first country forced to exit the euro.
The government in Nicosia is considering a levy of 20 per cent on deposits of more than €100,000 (£85,300) held at the Bank of Cyprus, one of the island’s most troubled lenders, according to a senior Cypriot official. There are said to be 10,000 such accounts at the bank, though their total value has not been made public.
Similar high-value deposits in other Cypriot banks may face a levy of 4 per cent.
The move is among a package of emergency fundraising measures designed to persuade eurozone officials to agree to a €10 billion (£8.5 billion) bail-out deal over the weekend.
Late on Friday night, the Cypriot parliament also backed a revenue-raising levy of less than 1 per cent on bank deposits below €100,000 — a rate seen as fairer than the 6.75 per cent levy rejected by legislators last Tuesday.
This article was posted: Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 8:43 am