Page last updated at 21:11 GMT, Friday, 31 October 2008

'Mountain to climb' on KSF funds

KSF (Isle of Man) building
The Isle of Man bank was closed on 8 October

Isle of Man officials are still working tirelessly to get back deposits trapped in Kaupthing, Singer and Friedlander (KSF), the treasury minister says.

Allan Bell MHK said there was still a "huge mountain to climb" to claw back the more than 800m frozen in the UK when the Manx bank collpased.

But he remains hopeful that a solution can be reached and said officials were meeting on a daily basis.

A petition to wind up the bank has been adjourned while the talks continue.

The Isle of Man subsidiary of Iceland's Kaupthing Bank was forced to close when the UK government froze Icelandic bank assets, the government says.

Manx officials have been in talks for more than a week with the UK Treasury about the plight of savers, who had about 840m deposited.

There is still going to be quite a huge mountain to climb to resolve this issue
Allan Bell, Treasury Minister

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

UK treasury officials say they are representing the island in discussions with Iceland in a bid to retrieve savers' money.

Mr Bell said: "There is still going to be quite a huge mountain to climb to resolve this issue.

"The island is not a sovereign state so we can't deal directly with Iceland, we have to do it through the United Kingdom as our constitutional relationship demands.

"So we have to tread very carefully in our relations with the United Kingdom at the moment to ensure we get the best result possible for the depositors and, of course, the island.

"I know there are some very tragic stories coming out of all this where people have potentially lost a great deal of money and feelings are running quite high.

"But we do have to be very very cautious on the way forward, we have to ensure we get the result we want at the end of it."

The UK treasury select committee is also due investigate the background to the banking problems and the freezing of Manx assets, Mr Bell said.

"It will be quite interesting to see what results this committee come out with," he added.

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