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Govt reacts Spanish MEP’s ‘propaganda’

The Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Joseph Garcia, has written to the European Commission in order to set the record straight following ‘misinformation’ about Gibraltar propagated by a Spanish MEP.

This comes after the Spanish MEP, Ramon Jauregui Atondo, tabled a question before the European Parliament in which he said that Gibraltar ‘facilitates tax evasion and financial crime’.

In response to these allegations, the Government has written to the European Commission setting out, in factual terms once more, Gibraltar’s unflinching position on tax evasion and other financial crime.

“This is the second time that this same Spanish MEP raises anti-Gibraltar propaganda in Brussels in a manner which has nothing to do with reality and everything to do with giving the wrong impression about our country to the European Union,” the Gibraltar Government said in a statement.

Dr Garcia said: “It is difficult to see what else this gentleman expects Gibraltar to do, and his question must be seen for what it is – an ignorant and unsubstantiated attempt to discredit and cause harm to Gibraltar.”

“Our record in the transposition of European Union law and in adhering to the highest international standards has been independently verified and is second to none. The Government will not allow his ridiculous claims to go by unchallenged and we have already written to the Commission in order to set the record straight”.

In the letter to the Commission, the Dr Garcia highlights numerous points such as the fact that Gibraltar has international exchange of information agreements with some 80 countries including Spain.

“Gibraltar received a glowing review from the OECD on our record on exchange of information and transparency.”

The Gibraltar Financial Intelligence Unit sends information, on request and on a spontaneous basis, to all countries in the Egmont Group of Financial Units. This includes Spain.

“All EU measures on financial supervision and regulation, exchange of information on direct taxation and the fight against money laundering are in force in Gibraltar and the European Commission has recognised Gibraltar’s full compliance with EU obligations in all these areas.”

Gibraltar has also enacted legislation for the automatic exchange of detailed tax information with the United States, the United Kingdom and all EU Member States. This includes Spain. Legislation for automatic exchange with a further 70 countries or so will be enacted shortly.