Page last updated at 17:06 GMT, Sunday, 12 October 2008 18:06 UK

Savers demand answers on collapse


Saver could lose Manx cash

The Manx government is not doing enough to assure anxious depositors caught up in the collapse of Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander (KSF), it has been claimed.

Chief Minister Tony Brown said he was pressing the UK government to ensure Icelandic authorities would protect savings in the Manx subsidiary.

But depositors said this was not enough, and urged ministers to explain their plans to deal with the crisis.

KSF collapsed on Thursday after its parent bank was nationalised.

The Financial Supervision Commission (FSC) said savings of up 50,000 would be protected by the new Depositors Protection Scheme (DPS).

But many of the bank's thousands of depositors had their life savings invested, and stand to lose much more should the Iceland government fail to guarantee the money.

You have got to be visible and we need to know, because if you don't tell people everyone will assume you are doing nothing
Steve Thomas, depositor

Steve Thomas, 57, had just deposited tens of thousands of pounds - the proceeds of selling his house in Moscow - and was in Britain negotiating over a new home.

He told BBC News: "I heard the news, put two and two together, slung a case in a hire car and drove straight here.

"I arrived in time to find a closed bank and a public meeting, with some very angry people."

Mr Thomas lost his home and job during the last UK recession in 1992, and said he had fought hard to rebuild his life in Russia.

He was in the process of moving his wife and six-year-old daughter back to the UK - but now fears he could lose everything again.

"I've had a phone call from Moscow from my child, who is six, who has just told me she is prepared to open her money box for me.

"You cannot imagine what that feels like.

Chief Minister Tony Brown

"I am fighting for my kid's future, but I am fighting for everyone else as well.

"We have to do this [press the government] because I know if we don't we will fall through the cracks."

Parent bank Kaupthing issued a parental guarantee in September 2007 to take responsibility for the liabilities, including deposits, of its Manx subsidiary.

A UK treasury delegation is in Reykjavic to seek assurances that savers with money in collapsed Icelandic banks will not lose their deposits.

The chief minister said on Friday he had requested the UK government - which is responsible for defending the Isle of Man's interests internationally - to press officials on Manx deposits.

Talk plea

But Mr Thomas, one of thousands of KSF depositors, wants to know if the Manx government is liaising with the team, or if any officials are with them in Iceland.

He said: "For pity's sake gentlemen please talk to us. Come and tell us you are doing something on our behalf?

"You have got to be visible and we need to know, because if you don't tell people everyone will assume you are doing nothing.

"The image we are getting at the moment is there are a group of men on the Isle of Man who are frozen in the headlights quite frankly. We need action."

No-one from the Isle of Man government could be reached for comment on Sunday.

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