Spanish PSOE MEP, Ramon Jauregui Atondo, has once again set a fire under the seats of Gibraltar’s government with inflamatory comments regarding the islands tax regime. Whilst addressing the European Parliament last week, the MEP alleged that Gibraltar not only accepts, but facilitates tax evasion and financial crime.
In response, Dr Joseph Garcia, Gibraltars Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for European Affairs, has written to the European Commission to reiterate his country’s position on the matter.
In a press release issued over the weekend, the Minister states this is not the first time this particular Spanish MEP has made anti-Gibraltar comments to the commission.
The letter reminds the commission that Gibraltar has international information exhange agreements with up to 80 countries, including Spain. It also explains that:
- The OECD gave Gibraltar a “glowing review” on their record for exchange of information and transparency.
- Gibraltars Financial Intelligence Unit regularly sends information to all members of the Egmont Group of Financial Units, which includes Spain.
- All EU regulations governing financial matters, the exchange of information and anti-money laundering are in force in the country. Furthermore, the EC has recognised Gibraltar’s full compliance with their obligations in these areas.
- Gibraltar has in fact created its own legislation for the exchange of information with the USA, the UK and all other EU member states, which includes Spain.
- Plans are in place for the information exchange to be extended to include a further 70 countries.
- Tax evasion is a serious crime in Gibraltar
The Hon Dr Joseph Garcia, commented: “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.”
See the full press release here.