The Great Cyprus Bank Heist
How can the Cyprus Bank Levy by the EU be Legal?
[UPDATE : Tuesday 19th March - The banks in Cyprus are still closed - and the Finance Minister has tendered his resignation - "Michalis Sarris, the Cypriot Finance Minister, has resigned on Tuesday. However, Cyprus President Anastasiades rejected his resignation."] Banks in Cyprus are obeying orders from the EU and imposing a 10% "levy" on customers' money in bank accounts, i.e. they are stealing money from the accounts. Surely this is illegal you say? Or lunacy? Or both? You think it doesn't concern you? Think again.
If they can introduce this "levy" in Cyprus, a small country, as a sort of test run, just to set a precedent, what's to stop them doing the same thing in your country? Latvia may think again about joining the Eurozone. Luxembourg ain't that big, how about a 10% "levy" there?
If they can impose a 10% "levy", what's to stop them imposing a 20%, 25%, 50% (pick a number) "levy"? Basically nothing. Apparently the Germans wanted a 40% "levy".
You thought your money was safe in a bank? It isn't.
If this sort of thing is legal then it means that your money isn't your own. You are only allowed to use it as long as the banks/governments decide they will let you use it. When they want it back they can just impose a 'one-off levy/theft'. Welcome to the free world. We are stealing your money, but it's OK because we are only doing it once (until the next time).
Cyprus is the fifth country after Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain to turn to the eurozone for financial aid, but this is the first time a bailout has included such a measure. But there's absolutely no guarantee that it will be the last.
Prepare for a run on banks as people start withdrawing their cash?
In Cyprus if you have less than 100,000 euros they will steal 6.75% of it. If you have more than 100,000 euros they will steal 9.9%.
What's more, Anastasiades won elections in Cyprus saying he wouldn't allow this to happen.
One Briton said that a lot of elderly Britons had transferred savings to the island when they retired there. "Nobody can understand how they can do this – isn't it illegal? How can they just dock money from your account?"
"A lot of us just can't believe it," said Alexandra Christofi, "I had put my money [in the bank] for a rainy day. It's absolutely all I have and I cannot understand how Cyprus is being singled out. Other EU countries got bailouts and we're only in this position because we supported Greece. Where is the fairness in that? Where is the solidarity and support that is meant to be the reason why we are all unified in this common currency in the first place?"
Maria Zembyla, said "It is robbery. People like us have been working for years, saving to pay for our children's studies and pensions and suddenly they steal a big share of this money. Russians that currently keep the economy afloat will leave the country along with their money."
Howard Skelton said: "The only people who will benefit in the long term are the banks. The sooner I can return to the UK the better." Believe me, if they can get away with this in Cyprus, they can get away with it in the UK too.
Co-operative banks, the only ones open on a Saturday, closed after a run on credit societies while ATMs cancelled transactions due to "technical issues".
Andy Georgiou said "I'm extremely angry. I worked years and years to get it together and now I am losing it on the say-so of the Dutch and the Germans."
"They call Sicily the island of the mafia. It's not Sicily, it's Cyprus. This is theft, pure and simple," said a pensioner. It's actually the island of the ECB, along with the rest of Europe.
As one journalist put it "This is just incredible. It is EU theft with a fancy name. Senior bondholders of these banks are left untouched while thousands of British savers (and ordinary Cypriot citizens my friend) in Cypriot banks shall have their hard-earned savings stolen."
As The Economist put it "if you were a depositor in a peripheral country that looked like it needed more money from the euro zone, what would your calculation be? That you would never be treated like the people in Cyprus, or that a precedent had been set..." Well, a precedent has clearly been set.
"The chances of big, destabilising movements of money (into cash, if not into other banks) have just shot up"
"people are now wondering about the implications of this deal for little Latvia, ... itself due to join the euro zone in 2014."
IMF managing director Christine Lagarde said she backed the deal. Presumably she hasn't got any of her large amounts of money in any banks in Cyprus.