Big depositors at Bank of Cyprus could lose up to 60%

The central bank says 37.5 percent of holdings over 100,000 euros will become shares.

London: Bank of Cyprus depositors with more than 100,000 euros could lose up to 60 percent of their savings as part of an EU-IMF bailout restructuring move, according to officials.

The central bank says 37.5 percent of holdings over 100,000 euros will become shares.

Up to 22.5 percent will go into a fund attracting no interest and may be subject to further write-offs. The other 40 percent will attract interest - but this will not be paid unless the bank performs well, reports BBC News.

It was known that the wealthiest savers at the Bank of Cyprus would take a large hit from the bailout deal - but not to this extent. Cypriot officials have also said that big depositors at Laiki - the country''s second largest bank - could face an even tougher "haircut". However, no details have been released.

The officials say that Laiki will eventually be absorbed into the Bank of Cyprus. It is believed that wealthy foreign savers - mainly Russians - will lose a vast chunk in the bailout deal. But there are plenty of Cypriot depositors, too, who will be hard hit and even more so now than previously thought.

The Bank of Cyprus holds about a third of all deposits in Cyprus. An enforced loss of up to 60 percent will have a dramatic impact. And other indebted eurozone countries will fear this sets a precedent and that they might be next.

The fear is that once the unprecedented capital controls - which are in place for an indefinite time - are lifted, the wealthiest will rush to move their deposits abroad.

The larger than expected loss could also have devastating consequences for large depositors such as schools and universities. And it could spread fear in other indebted eurozone countries that Cyprus might set a precedent.

Cyprus needs to raise 5.8 billion euros to qualify for the bailout, and has become the first eurozone member country to bring in capital controls to prevent a torrent of money leaving the island and credit institutions collapsing.