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Gibraltar invites Spanish treasury inspectors to dispel claims of tax evasion money

Wednesday, June 19th 2013 - 23:54 UTC
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CM Picardo challenges Treasury minister Cristobal Montoro CM Picardo challenges Treasury minister Cristobal Montoro

Spanish treasury inspectors tasked with “tightening the noose” on Gibraltar have been invited to travel to the British Overseas Territory and talk to officials in a bid to debunk claims that the Rock is harbouring tax dodgers from Spain.

The invitation was extended by Chief Minister Fabian Picardo in a letter to Spanish Treasury Minister Cristobal Montoro, first revealed in the Gibraltar Chronicle.

The five-page letter challenges Minister Montoro to work with the Government of Gibraltar to ensure that there is no Spanish tax evasion money in Gibraltar. It sets out why Gibraltar is “objectively considered to be a benchmark jurisdiction in the international financial services sector” and highlights the relevant legislative “gateways” for access to information on individuals who are suspected to be involved in tax evasion, the Gibraltar Government said in a statement.

Earlier this year Minister Montoro made a clear, negative reference to Gibraltar while talking about a Europe-wide clampdown on tax havens.

Montoro was speaking on the same day that a leading Spanish newspaper revealed the existence of a working group of Spanish tax inspectors set up to “tighten the noose” on Gibraltar.

“Due to the obvious misunderstandings and misapprehensions which you still appear to harbour, I would like to formally engage with you on all of these matters,” Mr Picardo wrote in the letter to Mr Montoro.

“Firstly, I would wish to remind you of Gibraltar’s exemplary compliance with EU and international standards in all the areas which you criticise.”

“Secondly, I am hereby inviting the working group you have set up to come to Gibraltar and speak to my officials in the relevant Gibraltar authorities on all the matters that are of concern to you.”

“I cannot think of any better way to dispel your concerns if they are genuine and not just a desire to attack us politically.”

Picardo told Montoro that his depiction of Gibraltar as a place for tax evasion for Spanish residents came as “a great disappointment” to the Gibraltar Government, as did attacks on Gibraltar by members of the Spanish Government who alleged tax evasion, lack of transparency on tax matters, poor regulation and money laundering.

These allegations were “wholly unfounded”, Mr Picardo said.

The Chief Minister said Spain appeared to be oblivious to the “very considerable steps” that Gibraltar has taken over the last 20 years to comply with EU and international requirements in all these areas.

“Let me be very clear with you – Gibraltar financial services laws do not permit practitioners to be involved in the evasion of taxes of other states and we do not want the proceeds of tax evasion from any country, including Spain, to be sheltered either in or through Gibraltar,” he wrote to the Spanish minister.

“In particular, we do not want to act as the conduit or destination of evaded tax money from Spain.”

“We have taken great steps to eradicate tax evasion in Gibraltar.”

Mr Picardo explained that tax evasion was a criminal offence punishable by up to seven years imprisonment.

Categories: Economy, Politics, International.

Top Comments

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  • Anglotino

    Oh Gibraltar!

    Why did you go and get all logical on the Spanish government?

    Jun 20th, 2013 - 01:03 am 0
  • reality check

    How about setting up a working group to find jobs for the 45% of unemployed youth in their country, cos these distractions will not wash with them!

    Jun 20th, 2013 - 05:38 am 0
  • Britworker

    Distract the population, Gibralter is the cause of all our problems, Latinos love a smaller scapegoat they can bully.

    Jun 20th, 2013 - 05:27 pm 0
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