Cyprus crisis deepens: Bailout rejected, banks may not reopen

01f3b7c5b1585fb11e22db8f622a26bdBy Alastair Jamieson

Banks in Cyprus will remain closed until Tuesday as the country tries to avert financial meltdown after rejecting the terms of a controversial bailout, turning instead to Russia for help.

An official said banks, which been shut for days amid fears of a run on savings, will stay closed on Thursday and Friday, CNBC and Reuters reported. Monday is a public holiday.

Earlier, Germany said the banks were effectively insolvent and might never open at all unless Cypriot political leaders accepted a bailout deal.

Thousands of Cypriots withdrew savings after the unexpected European Union announcement that it would provide $12.9 billion in exchange for up to 10 per cent of the value of all bank deposits – a move that would have thrown the Mediterranean island a lifeline but hundreds of thousands of citizens out of pocket.

Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble said major Cypriot banks were “insolvent if there are no emergency funds,” according to a BBC report, meaning savers might lose all their money if no deal was reached.

Greek media reports suggested the Cyprus Popular Bank had been sold to Russian investors, but the Cypriot government denied such a deal, Reuters said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the ball was now in Cyprus’ court. “I regret the vote of the parliament yesterday,” she told reporters. “But of course we respect it and will now look to see what proposals Cyprus makes.

“From a political point of view, I say that Cyprus needs a sustainable banking sector. Today’s banking sector is not sustainable,” she added.

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