Cyprus bailout: Large deposits will be seized and second-largest bank closed in €10bn EU bailout deal

Under the new agreement the country's second-biggest bank will be wound down as  holders of deposits of more than €100,000 face big losses

Brussels

An 11th-hour deal with the EU, which has saved the Cypriot economy from the brink, will see investors with more than €100,000 in the nation’s largest banks forfeit a large chunk of their deposits.

The punishing deal – which has been approved by the eurozone finance ministers – will allow the country to receive the €10bn (£8.5bn) bailout it needed before the European Central Bank pulled funding and sent the island on the path to bankruptcy and a possible exit from the single currency.

Under the new agreement, all bank deposits under €100,000 will be secured and guaranteed by the state. The country's second-biggest bank, The Popular Bank of Cyprus – known as Laiki – will be closed whilst holders of deposits of more than €100,000 face big losses.

Laiki will be split into good and bad banks, with its healthy assets eventually absorbed into Bank of Cyprus.

The Eurogroup said in a statement: “The programme will address the exceptional challenges that Cyprus is facing and restore the viability of the financial sector, with the view of restoring sustainable growth and sound public finances over the coming years.

“The Eurogroup further welcomes the Cypriot authorities' commitment to take further measures. These measures include the increase of the withholding tax on capital income and of the statutory corporate income tax rate. The Eurogroup looks forward to an agreement between Cyprus and the Russian Federation on a financial contribution.”

The president of the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, said in a press conference in Brussels that the new deal is better than last week’s proposal because it concentrates on the country's two major banks and that the agreement had “put an end to the uncertainty” around Cyprus' economy.

"I would l like to emphasis that none of these measures will affect deposits below €100,000," he added.

Meanwhile, a powerful firecracker has been detonated inside a branch in the country's largest lender, the Bank of Cyprus. Cyprus News Agency quoted police sources as saying the explosion late caused some damage to the branch in Limassol. According to the report, two people smashed a glass door and set off the firecracker but firefighters quickly extinguished the flames.

Sparks flew at the negotiations between President Nicos Anastasiades and the “troika” of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), EU and ECB, with the President at one point threatening to resign as troika officials pressed him to wind down two bloated banks.

Cyprus was asked to raise a €5.8bn contribution to the nearly €17bn it needed to stay afloat, but had been resisting IMF pressure to radically restructure two of their biggest lenders, which were saddled with billions of euros in debt by the crisis in Greece.

The Central Bank of Cyprus moved to stop large withdrawals from those two lenders, imposing a €100 daily withdrawal limit at their cash machines.

There are fears that Cypriots will race to the banks when they reopen tomorrow and money will flood out of the country.

Moscow also reacted with anger today to the bailout of Cyprus that will result in heavy losses for foreign depositors at the Mediterranean island's banks, many of which are Russian.

"The stealing of what has already been stolen continues," Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was quoted by news agencies as telling a meeting of government officials.

Cypriot MPs had last week voted down a bill requiring all account-holders to forfeit a percentage of their savings. But as the days passed and the nation inched closer to bankruptcy, the Finance Minister performed a U-turn and said the levy was back on the negotiating table. Eurozone finance ministers and the IMF had refused to budge on their demand that Cyprus should come up with €5.8bn to qualify it for €10bn in assistance. The German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, said: “We haven’t got much further in the last week. The numbers have not changed; if anything they have worsened.” Asked what new solution there could be, he replied: “What we agreed last week.”

His Austrian counterpart, Maria Fekter, said: “The ECB cannot just provide drawn-out euthanasia for the ailing banks. Therefore it is necessary that stable reforms are carried out.”

Eurozone states, led by Germany, say Cyprus’s current status as an offshore banking haven popular with Russian investors was simply not sustainable. The bloc is also desperate to stop the turmoil in Cyprus spilling over into other eurozone nations, and there has been open talk among officials that the Mediterranean island could be sacrificed to save the single currency.

The ECB had been propping up the crippled banks, but had threatened to pull the funding today is Cyprus was unable to reach a deal with the troika.

The island of 860,000 people accounts for only 0.2 per cent of eurozone GDP, but if there is a run on the banks – if they reopen as scheduled tomorrow – delicate investor confidence in other eurozone states could be shattered, causing a wider flight of capital from the eurozone.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Administrator is requ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - Commercial Vehicles - OTE £40,000

£12000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion and growth of ...

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - Sheffield - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer position with a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Leader - Plasma Processing

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Operations Leader is required to join a lea...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders