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Crisis-Hit Greeks Send 16 Billion Euros Abroad

Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos says Greeks have withdrawn 65 billion euros ($85 billion) from banks since 2009, and have sent 16 billion euros abroad.

Fears that Greece may be forced to exit the euro and a severe economic crisis have prompted Greeks to withdraw their savings.

Many individuals as well as companies were forced to tap their savings to pay their bills, but bankers say many Greeks have also withdrawn cash and stashed it away, including in safety deposit boxes where there has reportedly been a marked rise in demands.

Liquidity strains meanwhile forced Greek banks to rely heavily on central bank funding, both from the European Central Bank and the Bank of Greece, with borrowing standing at 116 billion euros in December.

Compiled from agency reports

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