Foreigners who lost 3m euros or more in Cypriot bailout to get passports

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 April, 2013, 5:00am


Foreigners with bank deposits in Cyprus who lost at least €3 million (HK$30 million) under the European Union bailout would be given passports, President Nicos Anastasiades said.

Non-resident investors who held such deposits before the bailout would be eligible to apply for Cypriot citizenship, which brought with it an EU passport, Anastasiades said.

"We believe that a number of measures to be adopted could on the one hand mitigate to some extent the damage the Russian business community has endured," he told a Russian business conference in the coastal resort of Limassol on Sunday.

He said the measures, primarily affecting Russians, would be approved at a two-day cabinet meeting starting yesterday.

"These decisions will be deployed in a fast-track manner and other measures currently under consideration," said the president, whose country sealed an EU bailout last month to rescue it from bankruptcy.

Most of the money being raised by Cyprus to qualify for the bailout is to come from a hit of up to 60 per cent on deposits of more than €100,000 at the Mediterranean country's two largest banks.

Russians have billions of euros parked in Cyprus, with estimates ranging from €5 billion to €31 billion. Moscow was angered when it emerged they would lose part of their money in return for Cyprus getting an EU bailout.

"I wholly acknowledge and share their understandable bitterness and apprehension caused by the coercive manner with which the Eurogroup agreement was imposed on my government," Anastasiades said of the Russian business sector.

The government is also "examining various scenarios which could permit the compensation of part of the losses which shareholders of banks, holders of debt securities and depositors have suffered," he said, without elaborating.