ECONOMY

Stournaras assures Greek depositors Cypriot tax is a one-off

Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras attempted to assure Greek depositors on Monday night that their savings will not face a tax similar to the one Cyprus is set to adopt.

Speaking after a Eurogroup teleconference during which Nicosia was given permission to change the details of the tax, Stournaras ruled out the possibility of Greek depositors facing losses.

“I can assure you that there is absolutely no danger for Greek depositors, regardless of whether they have their money in Cypriot banks in Greece or Greek banks or any other banks here,” said the finance minister.

Stournaras insisted that the decision for Cyprus was a one-off.

“The European Commission and the European Central Bank have also stressed this so Greek depositors have nothing to fear,” he added.

Stournaras said that during the teleconference he reaffirmed Greece’s intention to arrange for the Greek units of Cypriot banks to be absorbed by a lender in Greece.

He confirmed that the branches of Bank of Cyprus, Hellenic Bank and Cyprus Popular Bank – which have combined deposits of some 12 billion euros and loans of about 20 billion euros – would remain closed on Tuesday and Wednesday, in line with the decision for an extended bank holiday in Cyprus.

Any deal for a Greek lender to take over the assets and liabilities of the Cypriot banks will be dependent on the Parliament in Nicosia approving a deposit tax.

Hellenic Postbank, Piraeus Bank and Alpha Bank have all been linked to taking over the Cypriot lenders, who employ about 5,000 staff.