Report: ECB presses for Cyprus aid deal

Report: top ECB official presses for agreement soon on rescue package for Cyprus

Associated Press

BERLIN (AP) -- A top European Central Bank official is pressing for an agreement soon on a rescue package for Cyprus — a prospect viewed with little enthusiasm in Germany.

ECB executive board member Joerg Asmussen was quoted Monday as telling Germany's Handelsblatt newspaper that he expects an aid program to be drawn up by the end of March.

He says it would be "negligent" to speculate about when Cyprus might run out of money, but added: "If anyone hopes to delay a decision until after the German parliamentary election, that won't work." That election will be held Sept. 22.

Asmussen says it would be a good idea for an international auditing company to examine whether international standards on combating money laundering are applied. Cyprus rejects allegations that it's a money-laundering haven.

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