NICOSIA, April 19 One of Cyprus's most senior
civil servants has likened his country's treatment by Germany
and the IMF to the shooting of a pigeon with an atomic bomb,
saying they had destroyed an economic system that worked.
Christos Patsalides, permanent secretary of Cyprus's
Ministry of Finance, also described the international lenders as
"forces of occupation" that cared nothing for human rights.
Patsalides took part in the recent bailout negotiations
between Cyprus and the European Union and International Monetary
He was speaking to a judicial inquiry which started an
investigation on Friday into the circumstances that led to the
economic meltdown of one of the euro zone's smallest economies.
Patsalides told the inquiry that an "unrelenting" team of
technocrats had dispensed savage fiscal punishment to
"With the imposition of Germany and the IMF ... they shot a
pigeon with an atomic bomb," he said.
Many Cypriots saw their life savings vanish in March when
authorities imposed losses on uninsured deposits in two of
Cyprus's banks - Popular and Bank of Cyprus - which were badly
stung by an EU-sanctioned writedown on Greek sovereign bonds.
The depositor losses - which also hit overseas depositors,
many from Russia - were part of Cyprus's contribution ensure it
received a 10 billion euro bailout from the EU and IMF.
Asked whether forcing losses on depositors was compatible
with their individual rights, Patsalides replied: "When you are
dealing with forces of occupation, they don't talk about human
Cyprus, which had modelled itself as an offshore financial
services centre for lack of any other resources, now faces a
grim future with its reputation in tatters and its economy deep
"They destroyed an economic system that worked," Patsalides
said. "Yes, we have our shortcomings, but the magnitude of the
punishment is far greater than the size of the problem."