Penguin: Banks Confiscating Percentage of Depositors Cash in Cyprus, Collapse of Banking Across Europe Possible

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Who, Me?
Who, Me?

Facing Bailout Tax, Cypriots Try to Get Cash Out of Banks

ATHENS — In a move that could set off new fears of contagion across the euro zone, anxious depositors drained cash from automated teller machines in Cyprus on Saturday, hours after European officials in Brussels required that part of a new 10 billion euro bailout be paid for directly from the bank accounts of ordinary savers.

The move — a first in the three-year-old European financial crisis — raised questions about whether bank runs could be set off elsewhere in the euro zone. Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the president of the group of euro area ministers, declined early Saturday to rule out taxes on depositors in countries beyond Cyprus, although he said such a measure was not currently being considered.

Although banks placed withdrawal limits of 400 euros, or about $520, on A.T.M.’s, most had run out of cash by early evening. People around the country reacted with disbelief and anger.

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