TG urges ‘swift, robust’ action to address MONEYVAL concerns
Together Gibraltar has called on the Gibraltar Government to take swift and robust action to face the shortcomings identified in the MONEYVAL report.
The report made clear that while Gibraltar legal framework was for the most part adequate, Gibraltar had “failed to execute” the measures it had in place to counter money laundering and terrorist financing, with few prosecutions secured.
“Together Gibraltar considers this as tantamount to paying lip-service to the law and is not helped with the recent celebratory remarks published by Government on the report,” said party spokesman Neil Samtani.
“Together Gibraltar feels that the publication of this report is not a moment for backslapping or self-congratulatory sentiment.”
“We believe that Government has deliberately misconstrued the findings to appear to the public more positive than they actually are.”
“The failures identified by Moneyval impact our reputation and good standing on the global stage, risking an already precarious economic future.”
Together Gibraltar said it was “inexcusable” that the government had “failed” to provide suitable resources for the Gibraltar Financial Intelligence Unit, particularly given that terrorists and criminals alike were using increasingly sophisticated techniques to move money.
And while the party acknowledged that a deep investigation such the one conducted by MONEYVAL would inevitably throw up new issues to address, Gibraltar should have taken action to tackle problems that had been previously identified.
It said deficiencies that had already been identified in an IMF report on Gibraltar in 2017 had not been suitably implemented.
Together Gibraltar referred to MONEYVAL’s concerns that risks related to cross-border transportation of cash were insufficiently understood.
It also noted that according to MONEYVAL, Gibraltar failed to ensure a risk-based allocation of resources for the supervision of lawyers and notaries, despite being featured among the highest risks identified by the 2018 National Risk Assessment.
The threat of criminality associated with tobacco smuggling “is clear to see” yet this matter, and the money-laundering associated with the high volumes of cash proceeds, are not recognised as being of high risk in the National Risk Assessment, Together Gibraltar said, citing the report.
“We question the Government as to why this remains a problem - and why it was not considered for appropriate severity in the National Risk Assessment - when this was a matter Mr. Picardo committed to tackling when he took office eight years ago,” the party said.
Together Gibraltar also noted the GSD’s “out-of-character lack of criticism of the government” on this issue.
“Together Gibraltar hopes this was not borne out of a wish not to highlight the weak controls applied by legal firms to aid in the prevention of money laundering,” the party said.
“Sitting at the top of the tree, it is imperative that the legal firms set the tone for their clients and the finance sector.”
“While our circumstances are unique, we note with caution the parallel that can be drawn between our assessment and that of Malta, which fared marginally better than Gibraltar, yet was treated nationally and globally as being of significant concern for the jurisdiction.”
“Together Gibraltar commends the good work already completed and rightly recognised on the report by our legal authorities and supervisory agencies, and we have every faith in their ability to address the identified shortcomings challenge head-on.”
It added: “The Party appreciates the government’s willingness, as stated in Parliament, to engage with both Opposition parties to unpack some of the findings, and looks forward to doing so…”