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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Nicosia says resounding ‘no’ to Brussels ]

Nicosia says resounding ‘no’ to Brussels

Author: 
George Psyllides

CYPRUS sent a clear message to Brussels in writing yesterday saying it would not accept the notion of a money-laundering audit from a private company, the government spokesman said.

He also categorically rejected any thought of forcing losses on uninsured depositors as part of the island’s bailout.

“We made this position clear with arguments and it was given to the Eurogroup in writing,” Stefanos Stefanou said. “We condemn and reject efforts by certain circles in the EU to blackmail Cyprus into accepting new and dangerous procedures.”

Eurozone finance ministers decided on Monday that a private-sector auditor would probe Cyprus’ compliance with anti-money-laundering regulations as the island drew no clear support from  its partners on its refusal to impose losses on bank depositors as part of a bailout programme.

"We agreed that an independent assessment conducted by a private sector firm is required and we requested the troika and Cyprus agree on the terms of reference for such an assessment within a week,” Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem said.

Stefanou said it was an oxymoron for certain Europeans not to trust mandated committees like Council of Europe’s Moneyval, which has carried out four checks in Cyprus since 1998.

“Their stance shows bad faith, it shows expediency, and malicious intentions against Cyprus,” Stefanou said. 

The spokesman also rejected talk of a haircut on uninsured deposits.

“I want to make clear that such an issue is not being discussed. Such an issue will not be discussed and will never be accepted,” Stefanou said.

The matter has surfaced in the past but it became especially prominent after a report in the Financial Times on Monday.

It was made worse by the apparent refusal of European officials to give a straight answer on the matter.

Asked on Monday if he could exclude the idea that depositors in Cyprus would lose money under the bailout, Dijsselbloem avoided a direct answer: "Tonight where Cyprus is concerned we zoomed in on the issue of anti-money laundering and didn't go into any possible, or not possible, elements of a programme so I can't go into these elements with you.”

Citing a confidential memo, the Financial Times reported  that a proposal had been made to 'bail-in' investors and depositors of Cypriot banks, a move that would reduce the amount of financial assistance required by Cyprus.

The new plan has not been endorsed by its authors in the European Commission or by individual eurozone members, the FT said. The memo warned that “risks associated with this option are significant”, including a renewed danger of contagion in eurozone financial markets, and premature collapse in the Cypriot banking sector.



(Source: Cyprus Mail)
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008 Please contact Cyprus Mail for the copyright terms of this article.



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