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Date Released: 11 March 1999

JUST over a year after the Financial Times referred to Gibraltar as a benchmark with "the highest standards of regulation" (FT 5.2.99), the paper again ascribes the term "benchmark jurisdiction" to the Rock.

The term 'benchmark' arises from comments made by Foreign Secretary Robin Cook in an address to the British Dependent Territories Association in London on 4 February 1998. The FT said at the time:

"Spelling out the conclusions of his six-month review of Britain's relationship with these last remnants of empire, Robin Cook, the Foreign Secretary, told leaders of the DTA at a conference in London they would have to improve regulation of their offshore financial industries, on which several of the territories thrive."

"Using Gibraltar, which has had to upgrade its rules to European Union standards, as a benchmark," the FT went on, "Mr Cook said he wanted all territories with financial sectors to have the highest standards of regulation".

Mr Cook announced a checklist of measures that the UK wanted all its territories to have in place by the end of 1999. The checklist included "international codes on bank solvency and money laundering legislation to allow and require the territories to co-operate fully with foreign financial investigations, and genuinely independent regulatory authorities, funded if necessary by a levy on the local financial sector".

A year later, another Financial Times editorial (3 March 1999) reiterates Gibraltar's status as a benchmark jurisdiction which comfortably meets the criteria stipulated in Mr Cook's 'checklist'. "The colony has had UK-style money-laundering legislation for the past three years," says the FT, and again cites Robin Cook's reference to Gibraltar as a "benchmark jurisdiction in terms of legislative and regulatory standards" for other UK overseas territories.

Business as usual

IMM says that despite intensified pressure on the Rock from the Spanish authorities, Gibraltar reports that it is "business as usual". Anthony Fisher, Finance Centre Development Director, told the paper that he expects the crisis to be over soon.

Mr Fisher says he felt that comments made by broadcaster Jon Snow on Channel Four News in the UK suggesting Gibraltar was a money laundering centre were "outrageous".

"In the 20 odd years that Spain has intermittently made these allegations, it has never once produced a shred of evidence," said Mr Fisher. "Such allegations always surface when Spain tries to justify its political actions."

International Money Marketing (19.2.99) says that the Rock has implemented all European Union directives except for the investors protection scheme which is underway", and further quotes Mr Fisher as saying that "Gibraltar regulations match those of the UK".

Gibraltar is "also prominent in international anti-money laundering campaigns," the editorial concludes.


Anthony Fisher

Finance Centre Development Director
Department of Trade & Industry
Government of Gibraltar
Suite 771, Europort

Tel No:  + 350 50011
Fax No:  + 350 47677
E-mail:   Click Contact Link 

Website:  Click Contact Link 

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