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Savers Punished in Cyprus| International News by Staff Reporter
A bailout deal in the Eurozone will see savers at Cypriot banks lose up to 9.9% of the money in their bank accounts.
According to the Minister of Finance, Dimitris Sarris, the deal is necessary to save about 8,000 banking jobs after Cyprus banks lost money on investments in Greece. The announcement was made after the close of business for the weekend.
Angry Cypriot residents have queued at ATM's to withdraw money only to find that the affected funds are already frozen. Savers could withdraw some cash but not effect transfers. Some cooperative banks were forced to close after savers began to withdraw large amounts of cash. One citizen parked his bulldozer outside a bank threatening to use it to get his money.
A large proportion of money on deposit with the banks (37%) belongs to non-residents, primarily Russian and British investors, who will also lose their money.
It is estimated that Cyprus will obtain about 6 billion Euros from the savers and, as part of the bailout deal, receive a loan of about 10 billion euros from the IMF.
Other measures announced include a "withholding tax", to be imposed on interest on bank deposits, an increase in corporate taxation and the sale of some state assets.