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Cyprus bank curbs could last 30 days

Mar 28 2013 19:58 Reuters, AFP

A Cypriot college student holds a placard during a protest in Nicosia against a bailout for the financially crippled island. (Patrick Baz, AFP)

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Nicosia - Tight capital controls slapped on Cyprus banks under onerous conditions demanded by eurozone lenders for a bailout could be lifted within a month, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said Thursday.

"Expect restrictions to be lifted within a month if everything goes as well as it did today," Kasoulides told a news conference, referring to a calm reopening of banks after a 12-day lockdown aimed at preventing a run on deposits.

The restrictions, which include a limit on cash withdrawals of €300 a day and a €1 000 ceiling on money being taken out by travellers, were gazetted to last for a week but the central bank has said they would thereafter be lifted gradually, depending on the response of deposit holders.

Echoing President Nicos Anastasiades, Kasoulides praised the "mature and responsible behaviour of of the citizens of Cyprus and others at the banks".

"Everything has functioned in order," the minister said.

Anastasiades earlier tweeted his thanks to the people of the eastern Mediterranean island for their "maturity" after they formed orderly queues to access banks that had been shuttered since March 16.

As the feared bank run failed to happen, the cabinet appointed a panel to investigate whether criminal activity led to the Cyprus meltdown.

Kasoulides, asked whether the probe could lead to arrests, prosecutions and convictions, replied: "It is quite possible that this will be the case."


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