BUSINESS

Cyprus finance minister Sarris returning from Russia without deal

Cyprus has failed to gain the financial support from Russia that it sought after rejecting a European bailout plan, according to Cypriot Finance Minister Michael Sarris.

“I think we are not able to get the support that we wanted to get,” Sarris said in an interview after checking out of the Lotte Hotel in downtown Moscow. “But we must go back home because things are getting serious.”

Cypriot lawmakers will begin debating legislation today to unlock bailout funds and prevent a financial collapse with a European Central Bank deadline to cut off funding for its lenders in three days. The Mediterranean island nation is seeking to overcome a deadlock after lawmakers rejected an unprecedented levy on bank deposits demanded by the Eurogroup.

Sarris met with First Deputy Minister Igor Shuvalov and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov on March 20, asking Russia to restructure a 2.5 billion-euro loan that was granted in 2011.

“I think the loan will be extended and the conditions adjusted,” Sarris said. “But the rest of the support we are not ready to have concluded anything.

Sarris said yesterday that Russia was unable to provide loans and would instead consider making investments in the Cypriot energy industry, according to an interview broadcast on Antenna TV.

OAO Rosneft and OAO Gazprom, Russia’s state-run oil and gas producers, weren’t interested in Cyprus’s offer to bid for offshore assets, a Russian government official said today, asking not to be named because talks were private. Cyprus had asked Russia for about 5 billion euros of funding in exchange for banking and energy assets, another government official said yesterday.

[Bloomberg]

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