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Cyprus: British Expats Facing Cash 'Nightmare'

(c) Sky News 2013

Some British expats in Cyprus are facing a "financial nightmare" after the country's unprecedented EU bailout.

After nearly four decades of hard work in the UK Terry and Hazel Rose thought moving to Pyrgos in southern Cyprus would give them the perfect retirement.

They brought everything with them from Maidenhead in Berkshire and hold many assets including bank deposits over the 100,000 euros (£85,000) threshold.

They are likely to be subject to a levy between 30% and 40%.

Terry, who spent most of his career working for the British Army, told Sky News: "It's disgusting, it is my money, fair enough if you want to tax money people have earned in Cyprus but this is mine.

"It is a nightmare and yes I'm very angry."

With every bank still closed they have emailed their bank manager but have heard nothing back so simply do not know if a big chunk of their life savings will vanish.

Hazel added: "We love Cyprus, don't get me wrong, but this is the final straw. Sometimes I wish we'd never moved out here."

Their house is now in negative equity and moving back to the UK is not financially viable.

At the 'Taste of Britain' cafe and deli in Limassol almost all expat customers are concerned about what may lie ahead.

Owner Ann Bruce who moved here from Lancashire nine years ago told Sky News: "A lot of people come in here with very sad stories.

"It is frightening that the banks, an official organisation, that for years we have trusted, now you can't trust them any more."

The bulk of the British expats live in the resorts that stretch along the coastline of Cyprus but so do many wealthy Russians.

Amongst the Brits there are deep suspicions that some Russians were tipped off about the crisis and moved large amounts of money out of Cyprus.

It is hard for people to prove but British business owners told Sky News they have consistently heard anecdotal evidence that Russians were withdrawing massive amounts of money in the days before the crisis began.

British expats, though, can only concentrate on their own affairs.

Chris Parry, originally from Lincolnshire, now works as a financial advisor for 3D Global around Limassol and has been busy organising forums where expats can turn up and ask questions about what the financial crisis may mean for them.

He told Sky News: "In the great words of Dad's Army we're saying 'Don't panic' but most of my clients are naturally very worried.

"Most people who move out here are pensioners and the money they bring out here that's it, they can't add to it."

Banks in Cyprus are now due to open on Thursday and extra security staff are being drafted in to help control the crowds of people that are likely to turn up demanding money and information.

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