March 25, 2013

Russian Depositors use loophole to take billions out of Cyprus

Another very disturbing piece of news has emerged today, it appears that large amounts of money in the order of billions have been withdrawn from Laiki and Bank of Cyprus during the one week blockade; should this be confirmed the hole in the two banks could be much larger than thought; which in exchange would guarantee a total wipe out of the two banks' deposits.
If the purpose of all this was to punish dirty Russian capitals in Cyprus well it seems it failed miserably.

From FAZ, Google translation edited:
Despite the closed banks and a lock for payments in the past week, more money flowed out of Cyprus than in previous weeks, Frankfurter experts report.

Prior to the escalation of the crisis in Cyprus accruing on the payment system targetting liabilities of Cypriot central bank to the European Central Bank (ECB) had increased daily at approximately 100 to 200 million euros. In the days after Parliament rejection of the stabilization program, the daily risk has risen to more than double.
Just in the last week so cash assets have been withdrawn from Cyprus in the billions, regardless of the fact the Cypriot central bank had issued a lock.

Cyprus Central Bank Board nonetheless left exemptions from capital controls
such as transfers for humanitarian aid reasons and "special payments", which are not defined in detail.
The unusually high outflows from Cyprus in recent days indicates that the central bank of Nicosia has interpreted this capital control rather liberally.

From Reuters:
While ordinary Cypriots queued at ATM machines to withdraw a few hundred euros as credit card transactions stopped, other depositors used an array of techniques to access their money.

No one knows exactly how much money has left Cyprus' banks, or where it has gone. The two banks at the centre of the crisis - Cyprus Popular Bank, also known as Laiki, and Bank of Cyprus - have units in London which remained open throughout the week and placed no limits on withdrawals. Bank of Cyprus also owns 80 percent of Russia's Uniastrum Bank, which put no restrictions on withdrawals in Russia. Russians were among Cypriot banks' largest depositors.

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