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Cyprus, Troika agree to 20% tax on deposits over 100,000 euros at Bank of Cyprus

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Bank workers shout slogans during a protest outside Cyprus presidential palace in Nicosia on March 23, 2013. (AFP Photo / Patrick Baz)
Bank workers shout slogans during a protest outside Cyprus presidential palace in Nicosia on March 23, 2013. (AFP Photo / Patrick Baz)

Cyprus and the Troika have agreed to a 20 per cent tax on deposits over 100,000 euros at the Bank of Cyprus and 4 per cent on deposits held at other banks.

A senior Cypriot official told Reuters that a plan to tap nationalized pension funds would not be a part of a plan to raise billions of euros in return for a bailout from the European Union. Cyprus said earlier on Saturday that it was looking at seizing a quarter of the value of big deposits at its largest bank in order to raise such funds.

“Unfortunately, the events of recent days have led to a situation where there are no longer any optimal solutions available. Today, there are only hard choices left,” European Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said in a statement.

Cyprus is scrambling to come up with €5.8 billion by Monday, or face being kicked out of the Eurozone. The cash is a prerequisite for a further €10 billion in bailout funds.

Lawmakers’ rejection of a previous proposal to tax all bank deposits prompted the European Central Bank to threaten to cut off emergency funding to Cypriot banks unless a deal was reached by March 25. Banks have been shut all week, and are due to reopen on March 26.

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