Europe’s Final Gambit: 20%-30% Haircut For Oligarchs To Force A Russian Bailout

Europe’s Final Gambit: 20%-30% Haircut For Oligarchs To Force A Russian Bailout (ZeroHedge, March 19, 2013):

It now seems sure that the ongoing discussion in Cyprus’ government will see a “no” vote as the WSJ is reporting a rather stunning gamble by the Cypriots (and by Cypriots we mean European leaders) to force the Russians to bear the brunt of the cost of the bailout. The non-resigned Cypriot FinMin is heading to Russia to propose a deal that includes imposing a 20% to 30% levy on Russian-held deposits in Cypriot banks, which could cost them billions of euros. In exchange, Russia will be given equity in Cyprus’s future national gas company and some additional strategic benefits in the sector, while Russian investors would be given control of the board of directors at Cyprus’s banks. The apparent quid pro quo in this deal does nothing to hide the fact that private property was stolen and while pointing fingers just at the Russians may play well for PR purposes, it is described as “a long shot” as the Kremlin notes, “it’s practically impossible to talk without knowing details.”

Via WSJ,

The official said that Michalis Sarris, who is being accompanied by a delegation of businessmen, is going to propose a deal that includes imposing a 20% to 30% levy on Russian-held deposits in Cypriot banks, which could cost them billions of euros. In exchange, Russia will be given equity in Cyprus’s future national gas company and some additional strategic benefits in the sector, while Russian investors would be given control of the board of directors at Cyprus’s banks.

However, the deal looks like a long shot. Ahead of the visit, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “It’s practically impossible to talk without knowing the details.”

“The situation is very difficult–unprecedented–and we don’t understand what’s happening,” he said. Mr. Putin hasn’t spoken to his Cypriot counterpart, he added.

“We don’t know about the visit [on Wednesday] because we have information that the [Cypriot] finance minister has offered his resignation. Since we don’t know if Cyprus has a finance minister, we can’t comment on proposals that he might make,” he said.

Mr. Anastasiades hinted that the government is already working on a plan B. “We have our own plans,” he said.

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