Cyprus Seizure of Savings

SUBHEAD: Panicked Europeans rush ATMs as leaders move to seize funds directly from bank account holders.


By Mac Slavo on 16 March 2013 for SHTF Plan -

Image above: Detail of painting of Pandora by Jules Joseph Lefebvre (1836-1911).  From (

Over the last few years political and financial leaders in Europe and the United States have implemented policies, regulations and bailouts costing global taxpayers trillions of dollars with the promise that these measures would lead to economic growth and recovery.

What happened in Europe today is yet further proof that nothing they’ve done has fixed the underlying fundamental issues surrounding the events that led to the crash of 2008.

For those who don’t believe the government is prepared to take extreme measures that may include the seizing of retirement accounts, cash savings or even gold, look no further than Cyprus, the latest recipient of bank bailouts.

As of right now, citizens of Cyprus are scrambling to withdraw funds from their bank accounts after the EU, with agreement from the Cypriot government, announced they will decimate funds held in personal bank accounts to the tune of up to 10% of existing deposits.

You read that right.

The European Union has made the determination that the people of Cyprus are now responsible for the hundreds of billions of dollars in bad bets made by their government and bank financiers, and they are moving to confiscate money directly from the bank accounts of every citizen in the country.
Restrictions have been imposed to stop people emptying their accounts or moving their money out the country after the Cypriot government announced that up to ten per cent of deposits will be seized and used to bailout the island’s crisis-hit banking system.
The deal with other eurozone finance ministers is the first time that ordinary citizens’ deposits have been directly raided in this way.

One furious expat said: ‘This is plain theft. I’d love to hear someone explain to me why it isn’t.’

Under the deal, all bank deposits over €100,000 will be hit with a levy of 9.9 per cent. Those with smaller savings will pay 6.75 per cent.

The move sparked panic and violent protests yesterday as crowds desperately tried to withdraw their money at cash machines. 

‘Why would you risk putting your money in Greek, Spanish or Portuguese banks after this?’
British expats were stunned by the news, with many left high and dry by the restrictions on accounts.
Cash machines had been working, but many ran out of notes because of the panic withdrawals.

But financial experts said the raid – designed to stop Cyprus crashing out of the euro, potentially destroying the currency – would send shock waves through the eurozone.
If savers in other troubled nations fear their accounts might be next, they could withdraw their money and spark a catastrophic run on the  banks.
Source: Daily Mail
They’re calling it a “tax.”

As Market Ticker’s Karl Denninger notes, “Like hell that’s a tax. That’s direct confiscation of the funds of people who did nothing wrong!”

It should now be obvious. There is no recovery. There never was.

No matter where you live, your government is likely preparing measures to deal with the coming financial and economic collapse. This means they are going to be coming for anything of value that they can get their hands on.

If you have the majority of your net worth allocated in bank accounts, money market funds, retirement plans, stock markets or the host of other ‘safe’ assets recommended by your financial adviser, then you are playing Russian roulette.

And in this version there’s a bullet in every chamber.

When they come, they will take everything they can.

As Cyprus goes so goes Europe


By Raul Ilargi Meijer on 17 March 2013 for Automatic Earth -

One day after it was agreed on and announced by the Eurogroup and Cyprus president Nicos Anastasiades, the deal that would turn the Eurozone into a Pandora's box like no other EU measure to date has done looks like it may never reach the finish line. The Cypriot parliament, in which freshly elected Anastasiades holds just 20 of 56 seats, has pushed a vote on the deal forward until Monday, a clear sign that the president's political adversaries will not easily be locked into an agreement that is obviously and for good reason hugely unpopular.

As I wrote yesterday in Bank Run In Cyprus; Who's Next?, this very curious looking deal has the potential to kill off confidence in the EU banking sector practically overnight. If bank deposits in Cyprus are not guaranteed (even if only up to a maximum), there is no reason for people in other Eurozone countries to trust their deposits will be treated any differently. In Cyprus, if the deal is voted through parliament, depositors will lose between 6.75% and 9.99% of their money, but there is nothing to keep the EU/IMF/ECB troika from imposing 20% or 40% (or you name it cuts) on deposits in Italy, Spain, France, take your pick.

There are reports that Anastasiades accepted the "agreement" because Germany made it a do or die deal, but that still doesn't explain why Berlin would take such an obvious risk with the entire EU banking sector. Although I have to admit the risk apparently wasn't recognized yesterday by 95% or more of the international press, so you might be tempted to believe that neither Germany nor the rest of the Eurogroup saw it either. But that would be excessively stupid. And incompetent as they are, even I don't think they're that far gone.

I would think it's more likely that the 37% of deposits in Cyprus banks that are "foreign", i.e. largely Russian, have pushed European politicians into a crowdpleasing mode - punish the criminals! - that made them overlook broader consequences. But, really, that doesn't totally convince me either. Though I was greatly amused to read that Britain will compensate the 3500 troops it has stationed on Cyprus that have bank accounts there.

Still, when you see things happening that seem this far out of field, there's often an ulterior motive behind them. Like if the Eurogroup counted all along on Cyprus not accepting the terms of the deal forced upon it. Or Anastasiades counting on the fact that the deal would never be ratified by parliament.

Meanwhile, I'm curious to know who the Cypriot politicians on all sides of the aisle are talking to today. And yes, Beppe Grillo comes to mind again, Niall Farage perhaps. Who else can they expect any support from?

More tomorrow (the vote coincides with a national carnival holiday) and Tuesday. Let’s be clear on one thing in the meantime: the deal as it is on the table is an unmitigated disaster for Europe, and the effects will spill to at least the rest of the western world. At the same time, if Cyprus says no, the implied threat is that Europe will let it fall like a stone, bankrupt the banks, and throw it out of the Eurozone.

And that would be the end of the Eurozone; if Cyprus leaves, so will others. Are they really going to take that risk after 5 years, 500 emergency meetings and €5 trillion in bailouts? Hell no, you kidding?, but they still threaten to do it, and in such a transparent fashion? Why would Anastasiades, or anyone else for that matter, fall for that? Something doesn't add up here.

The Deeper Meaning of Cyprus


By John Hugh Smith on 18 March 2013 for Of Two Minds - 


The deposit-confiscation "bailout" of Cyprus reveals much about the Eurozone's fundamental neocolonial, neofeudal structure.

At long last, Europe's flimsy facades of State sovereignty, democracy and free-market capitalism have collapsed, and we see the real machinery laid bare: the Eurozone's political-financial Aristocracy will stripmine every nation's citizenry to preserve their power and protect the banks and bondholders from absorbing losses.

The deposit-confiscation "bailout" of Cyprus confirms the Eurozone's fundamental neocolonial, neofeudal structure and the region's political surrender to financialization.

The E.U., Neofeudalism and the Neocolonial-Financialization Model (May 24, 2012)

Let's list what Cyprus reveals about the true state of financial-political power in Europe:
  1. The Core-Periphery terminology masks the real structure: the E.U. operates on a neocolonial model. In the old Colonialism 1.0 model, the colonizing power conquered or co-opted the Power Elites of the periphery regions, and proceeded to exploit the new colonies' resources and labor to enrich the Imperial core.

    In Neocolonialism, the forces of financialization (debt and leverage controlled by State-enforced banking cartels) are used to indenture the local Elites and populace to the financial core: the peripheral "colonials" borrow money to buy the finished goods manufactured in the core economies, enriching the Imperial Elites with A) the profits made selling goods to the debtors B) interest on credit extended to the peripheral colonies to buy the core economies' goods and "live large", and C) the transactional skim of financializing peripheral assets such as real estate and State debt.

    In essence, the core banks of the E.U. colonized the peripheral nations via the financializing euro, which enabled a massive expansion of debt and consumption in the periphery. The banks and exporters of the core exacted enormous profits from this expansion of debt and consumption.

    Now that the financialization scheme of the euro has run its course, the periphery's neocolonial standing is starkly revealed: the assets and income of the periphery are flowing to the core as interest on the private and sovereign debts that are owed to the core's central bank and its crony money-center private banks.

    This is not just the perfection of neocolonialism but of neofeudalism as well. The peripheral nations of the E.U. are effectively neocolonial debtors of the core (quasi-Imperial) banks, and the taxpayers of the core nations (now reduced to Germany and The Netherlands) are now feudal serfs whose labor is devoted to making good on any bank loans to the periphery that go bad.

    Though we can term the E.U. a plutocracy or oligarchy, the neofeudal structure compels us to distinguish a class of those holding wealth and political power that is not limited to national border: this is an Aristocracy.

    Serving the Aristocracy is a well-paid technocrat class of factotums, lackeys, toadies and enforcers. Below this well-compensated caste of technocrats is the larger class of debt-serfs, enslaved to interest payments on either their own debts or the debts of others, and bound by their class powerlessness to protecting banks and bondholders from losses.

    Cyprus merely adds an expropriation twist to this well-oiled plunder: deposits will be expropriated directly to insure no Imperial (core) banks or bond holders lose money on their absurdly risky loans to periphery nations and serfs.

  2. This is a supranational plunder. While commentators can wile away years debating how much Germany benefited from the euro, the real core is not national, it is supranational banks and the political machinery of the E.U. the banks have effectively captured.

    The citizenry of Germany may approve or disapprove of the Cyprus expropriation, but it doesn't matter either way: their own serfdom to banks and bondholders is simply being masked: the bailouts of periphery nations are transparently bailouts of core banks and bondholders.

    The nation-states of the neocolonial periphery are simply convenient propaganda placeholders, useful misdirections aimed at the naive and sentimental, hollowed-out national structures propped up to mask the ugly neocolonial reality of servitude and plunder.

  3. Democracy is a fiction when no matter who you vote for, the banks and bondholders win control of the national income stream and private wealth. Democracy in Europe is a travesty of a mockery of a sham, an absurd play which is acted out as a form of blood-sport circus to distract the masses from their powerlessness and debt-serfdom.

    Democracy is a fiction when the policies protecting banks and bondholders from losses remain in place regardless of which political party, coalition or politico is nominally in power.

    The German taxpayers' private wealth is being expropriated via taxes to bail out core banks and bondholders; how is this any different from the blatant expropriation of private assets in Cyprus?

    It is only a difference in technique; the result is the same: the forced transfer of wealth from those who earned it from their labor to banks and bondholders which in a truly capitalist economy would be immediately forced to absorb the losses of their leveraged, highly risky bets.

  4. The ideological fiction of capitalism is dead in Europe. Capitalism is a fiction if capital that is placed at risk for a return cannot be lost.

  5. Cyprus is a test to see how blatant the expropriation of private assets can become without triggering overthrow and revolution. If the furor dies down soon enough, then the same technique of expropriation will be imposed elsewhere. If the reaction is sustained and threatening to the Aristocracy, other less blatant expropriations will be tested in other neocolonies.

  6. Divide and conquer is the propaganda order of the day. The Power Elites are attempting to set the serfs of the periphery against the serfs of the core, the goal being to keep both sets of serfs from realizing they are equally indentured to the core's pathological political-financial Aristocracy.

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