The Finance Minister, Ersin Tatar announced yesterday that the surprise tax on Greek Cypriot bank depositors amounted to four times the TRNC budget and that many British ex-pats living in South Cyprus, were now looking to open bank accounts in the north.
Tatar called the near 10% tax on depositors a ‘wealth slap’ and said that the economy in the south had collapsed. He felt that measures were not taken when required and the recession had only just started. He added that ex–President Christofias had taken populist measures and had surrendered to the unions.
When asked by a reporter if a similar situation could be encountered in North Cyprus, Tatar said that it was absolutely impossible. He then pointed out that over the past two days there had been many account opening inquiries from British people living in the south.
Tatar continued that the ‘wealth slap’ would impact on the British and Russian deposits in Cypriot banks and that this would stop the flow of money to the south, including money laundering. He explained that under EU rules, only 10,000 Euros can be carried in cash, any larger amounts needed to be transferred through a bank.