Russian finance ministry says Cyprus levy fair if amended

Russian Deputy Finance Minister Anton Shatalov said on Monday that plans by Cyprus to impose a levy on bank deposits would be fair if it were imposed on interest earned on deposits.

"A minimum tax rate of 7 percent on the deposit and 10 percent as a maximum, this is of course, big, if it is approved like this," Shatalov told journalists, suggesting that amending the tax to impose it on interest would be fairer.

"A possible option that has been widely reported suggests a possibility of implementing a 10 percent levy on the interest rate earned on the deposits."

"If that were to happen, that would not be that horrible and it would be absolutely fair."

Shatalov added, however, that he did not pity Russian businessmen operating in Cyprus. The island has been a known tax haven for Russian companies.

"I don't pity our businessmen," he said. "I think they will not like it."

(Reporting by Daria Korsunskaya; Writing by Lidia Kelly and Maya Dyakina)