NEWS

Cyprus Finance Minister Michalis Sarris resigns [Update]

Cypriot Finance Minister Michalis Sarris tendered his resignation on Tuesday afternoon amid criticism of his handling of the crisis and after talks were concluded on a controversial bailout deal with international lenders.

Sarris is reportedly being replaced by Labor Minister Haris Georgiadis, while President Nicos Anastasiades is also said to be considering a reshuffle of the cabinet within the day, according state broadcaster RIK.

The 10-billion-euro bailout will carry an interest rate of 2.5 percent and a 10-year grace period, according to reports.

Some media has suggested that Sarris’s resignation was prompted by calls for an investigation to be launched into how the country’s economy nearly collapsed last month. Anastasiades officially established the commission, composed of a three-judge panel, to investigate the reasons for the crisis on Tuesday.

Sarris previously served as chairman of Cyprus Popular (Laiki) Bank Pcl, the second-largest lender, which has been shut as part of the financial rescue.

“I believe that in order to facilitate the work of (investigators) the right thing would be to place my resignation at the disposal of the president of the republic, which I did,” Sarris said.

“With regret, I received today the resignation of the Finance Minister Michael Sarris,” according to a letter from Cyprus President Anastasiades handed to reporters in Nicosia. “I want to thank him.” [Combined reports]