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Iceland offers hard lessons for Cyprus on capital controls

For Iceland, there was a sense of deja vu when Cyprus's finance minister said capital controls would probably last "a matter of weeks". Five years after a banking meltdown, the north Atlantic island has just extended its own controls indefinitely.When Iceland first announced those surprise plans after market hours in November 2008, the Confederation of Icelandic Employers director general rushed to parliament at night to try to persuade bleary-eyed lawmakers to reverse course."They were talking about lifting them in three months. I feared they would be permanent," said Vilhjalmur Egilsson. "But politicians had neither the energy nor intellectual capacity to realize that."He returned home empty-handed. An International Monetary Fund official woke him in the middle of the night with a phone call, worried about Egilsson's opposition to the controls."Everyone seemed tired with late night meetings, thrown into a state of confusion," Egilsson said. "No one was thinking straight."As in Cyprus...

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