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Govt says no relationship with Putin, but asks TG and GSD to clarify

Eyleen Gomez

The Gibraltar Government has said it has no relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his regime while calling on the GSD and Together Gibraltar to clarify their own relationships.

This follows a statement from Together Gibraltar which asked for details of sanctions made against Russian individuals and businesses connected to oligarchs to be made public in Gibraltar.

The party also demanded that MPs disclose any financial or professional relationships with Russian clients “in the spirit of transparency”.

But the Government said this statement from TG was based on a “complete misunderstanding of the sanctions regime in force in Gibraltar”.

“This is surprising as Marlene Hassan Nahon was in Parliament when this very Bill was introduced, explained and voted on in 2019,” a spokesman for No.6 Convent Place said.

“As Ms Hassan Nahon should therefore know, the sanctions regime provides for the automatic transposition in Gibraltar law of sanctions imposed by the United Kingdom.”

“The United Kingdom is presently updating its list of sanctions and the list of persons most recently designated as sanctioned is available, as updated, on the websites of Her Majesty’s Government of the United Kingdom.”

“Gibraltar has also announced that it is, in addition, adopting the EU sanctions against Russia and related parties arising from the invasion of Ukraine.”

“This is also provided for in our law.”

The EU sanctions list is published, as constantly updated, on the websites of the European Union, the Government spokesman said.

“I am very pleased to say that Gibraltar has gone beyond most other nations in our approach to sanctions,” Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, said.

“When it comes to maritime sanctions, we are not permitting our port or our port services to be employed by any vessels with Russia as a destination, and not just vessels which are Russian, or Russian owned or operated.”

“Our position at a geopolitically significant location means we can do something in this area of operation which is meaningful in potentially disrupting the Putin regime.”

“This means not just stopping the refuelling of the Superyachts of ‘Putin’s Oligarchy, but also stopping services to the merchant shipping fleet that may fall foul of sanctions.”

“I am also very happy to see coming to fruition some of the work we are doing, with UK support, to extract and repatriate Gibraltarians from Ukraine with their families.”

“We continue doing additional work to try to ensure the safe repatriation of others to Gibraltar.”

The Gibraltar this week waived visa requirements for Ukrainian nationals holding a multiple entry Schengen Visa seeking refuge from conflict on a temporary basis.

“We will continue to do what we can as a part of the worldwide effort to shame the Russian regime into stopping their illegal invasion of Ukraine,” Mr Picardo said.

“We are also working with those who are seeking to move goods for Ukraine so that these can get across the frontier without any difficulty or delay.”

“Additionally, I am also very happy to say that neither I nor any other GSLP/ Liberal Minister or Member of Parliament have had or have any relationship, at any level, professionally or otherwise, or done any business ‘with citizens implicated in Putin’s Oligarchy’.”

Mr Picardo said the GFSC and the Government has already ensured that all Gibraltar licensed firms and especially trust and company managers, are specifically aware of the sanctions involved and that they should make such reports as are necessary to the authorities in relation to such individuals or companies as are sanctioned.

“This notification covers all the law firms who may have members in the Gibraltar Parliament, including the firm that is eponymous with her and her family,” Mr Picardo said.

“I therefore look forward to confirmation of the same from other members of the Parliament, in particular other financial services professionals including lawyers, [Leader of the Opposition, Keith Azopardi, QC, and Damon Bossino] from Triay Stagnetto Neish, Daniel Feetham, QC, and Elliott Phillips (whose law firm has previously boasted of its connections with wealthy and influential Russian and Russia related clients) as well as Roy Clinton, who as a banker will need to clarify whether he has had such relationships and whether they subsist in anyway.”

Referring to an interview Ms Hassan Nahon gave to the Gibraltar Magazine in 2017, Mr Picardo said whilst Ms Hassan Nahon was in banking, she was involved in transactions relating to the sales of arms.

Mr Picardo called on her to be transparent and state what parties, entities or countries she was involved in selling arms to.

“This is all about abiding by our obligations to ensure strict compliance with our obligations under the Sanctions Act, in an open and transparent manner,” he said.

“We all share this responsibility, including Ms Hassan Nahon.”

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