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Cyprus told: take bank levy or leave euro

March 24, 2013
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Source: Guardian

Wealthy Russians stand to lose billions of euros in Cypriot banks under draconian terms being hammered out on Sunday night in Brussels to prevent the Mediterranean tax haven becoming the first country forced out of the single currency.

Negotiations got underway amid a hardening of the stance held by the International Monetary Fund and Germany, who insisted that depositors must take the hit for bailing out the eurozone's latest crisis economy.

There were signs of panic in Cyprus as a €100 (£85) limit was imposed on ATM withdrawals, with more stringent capital controls to follow if a deal is reached.

The European Central Bank has threatened to cut off funds propping up Cypriot banks on Monday, precipitating the island's exit from the euro if agreement was not reached on Sunday night at the emergency meeting between eurozone finance ministers, the president of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades, and the bailout troika of the IMF, European Commission and the ECB.

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