Minister Michalis Sarris: Cyprus paying 'tremendous cost'

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The Cypriot finance minister, Michalis Sarris, has indicated to the BBC that that losses for depositors with more than 100,000 euros in bank accounts on the island could be "in the neighbourhood" of 40%.

It is part of an international deal to bail out the country.

Banks remain shut for an 11th day because of fear that there could be "massive outflows" of money. But, Mr Sarris says he hopes they will now all be open on Thursday.

Speaking to the Today programme's Sarah Montague, he said that ministers are meeting banks today to work out the details of how big depositors will be affected.

"The exact percentage is not... yet decided but it is going to be significant.

"I am afraid that people that have [deposits] larger than 100,000 [euros] will have to exchange them for bank shares and that, obviously, is part of this tremendous cost we are paying," he explained.

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Tuesday 26 March 2013.

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