UPDATE 2-Cyprus seeks Russian billions to soften bailout blow

Thursday 21st March, 2013

Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:09am EDT

By Lidia Kelly and Douglas Busvine

MOSCOW, March 21 (Reuters) – Cyprus is in talks with Moscow on raising billions of euros in investments from Russia as an alternative to imposing a tax on Cypriot bank deposits, hoping to lift the barrier to an EU bailout.

Finance Minister Michael Sarris, in Moscow for a second day of talks on Thursday, said Cyprus’ banks and its offshore gas riches were areas in which Russia could invest.

“The banks are the ultimate objective in any support we get,” Sarris told Reuters. “There are no stumbling issues – there is just work to be done.”

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