Expats fear Cyprus-style account raids

There has been a "surge" in the number of British expats seeking advice about moving funds out of some of the eurozone's most troubled economies following the Cyprus bailout deal, said deVere Group on Tuesday.

Expats fear Cyprus-style account raids
A woman leaves a branch of the Cyprus Laiki (Popular) Bank in Nicosia on Monday. Photo: Yiannis Kourtoglou/AFP

According to deVere Group chief executive Nigel Green, "more and more expats in Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece are now not unreasonably worried for their deposits in these countries."

He added: "Over the last week, since the messy deal to bail out Cypriot banks began, our financial advisers in these areas have reported a significant surge in inquiries from expats who are looking to safeguard their funds in other jurisdictions which are perceived to be safer.

"Whether the institutions like it and accept it or not, there is a real risk of a major deposit flight from these countries as people feel their accounts could be plundered next."

DeVere provided no figures as to the number of expats seeking advice from the group.

World stock markets tumbled late on Monday after a top eurozone official was interpreted as suggesting that a levy on bank deposits used as part of the Cyprus bailout could be a template for future rescues in the troubled region.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who heads the Eurogroup of finance ministers, said the costs of bank recapitalizations should not fall on tax payers, but on bondholders, shareholders and, if necessary, uninsured deposit holders.

His statement, which came just hours after a last-minute deal to save the Cyprus financial sector, sent the euro tumbling to a four-month low on Monday in late London trading.

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