Cyprus offers Russia gas, banking assets for rescue, Sarris says

Cyprus is offering Russia “opportunities” including banking and natural gas assets in return for help in bailing out the island nation, Finance Minister Michael Sarris said.

“We are asking for help clearly, but something that would make also economic sense for Russia,” Sarris told reporters in Moscow Thursday before a second day of talks between Russian and Cypriot officials.

The euro region’s third-smallest economy is seeking to overcome a deadlock after Cypriot lawmakers rejected an unprecedented 5.8 billion-euro ($7.5 billion) levy on bank deposits imposed by the European Union as a condition for a 10 billion-euro rescue. Cyprus is asking Russia, which granted it a 2.5 billion-euro loan in December 2011, to delay repayment of the credit until 2021 and grant a new facility of 5 billion euros, the Vedomosti newspaper reported, without citing anyone.

The two nations will hold a second day of talks Thursday, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said. Cyprus needs between 6 billion and 10 billion euros to recapitalize its financial industry, central bank Governor Panicos Demetriades was cited as saying in an interview with Vedomosti published Thursday. If Russia gives a new loan “it will be a good investment,” Demetriades was cited as saying. [Bloomberg]

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