E.U. Demands Cypriots Pay UpS

Eurozone finance ministers are demanding a one-time levy on bank deposits of all sizes—even on insured accounts—as part of a bailout package for Cyprus, which is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. Cypriots sprinted to banks and ATMs this weekend, waiting in long lines to withdraw cash after hearing about the plan on Saturday; if approved by Cyprus' parliament, it would mark the first time ordinary European depositors would be asked to take a haircut for a bailout plan. The levy would take 6.7 percent for deposits of less than 100,000 Euros and 9.9 percent for those above, and while more progressive plans have been floated, as it stands right now "[t]his is a conscious choice to make poorer people pay to help richer ones," The Financial Times writes. Why lean on the little guy? In all likelihood to preserve the island nation's status as an offshore haven for, in particular, Russian businessmen. Still, the tax is far from being assured: it's unclear whether President Nicos Anastasiades has the necessary majority to approve the plan, and the vote has been delayed until tomorrow. [Financial Times | NYT | Reuters | image via Getty/AFP]