Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Cypriot finance chief quits after talks

Cypriot Finance Minister Michael Sarris has quit after concluding talks with foreign lenders on a bailout that forced the island to slap unprecedented losses on bank depositors in return for aid.

The news came after Cyprus relaxed currency controls, raised the ceiling for financial transactions that do not require central bank approval, but kept most other restrictions.

Sarris, who was dispatched to Moscow last month but returned empty-handed as Cyprus sought Russian aid after rejecting a European bank levy proposal, said his main goal of agreeing a deal with lenders had been accomplished.

He said it was also appropriate to resign since he was among several people under scrutiny by a team of investigators looking into the collapse of the country's banking system.

His resignation was accepted by the government.

Before quitting, he said it was not clear when the remaining capital controls would be lifted.

The island introduced curbs on money movements when banks reopened on March 28 while the government negotiated a €10bn (£8.5bn) bailout from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union.