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Date of Release: Thursday 25 March 1999

INSURANCE DAY (17.3.99) reports that the Minister for Trade and Industry has "strongly refuted claims focusing on the territory's finance centre in the wake of the Spanish Government's recent crackdown on border controls with Gibraltar".

In a statement, Peter Montegriffo said that Spain's crackdown had been accompanied by highly misleading propaganda emanating from Madrid.

"This has focused particularly on Gibraltar's finance centre with totally inaccurate claims concerning the implementation of EU directives and also alleged money laundering," he said.

"The reality is that recent statements made by the UK Foreign Secretary, the previous Minister for Europe, the European Commission and the US Government refute and discredit these irresponsible claims."

He pointed out that Gibraltar was the only UK overseas territory that is part of the EU under the Treaty of Rome and had been flagged as an exemplary benchmark finance centre.

"At the time of the commissioning of the Edwards report reviewing financial regulation in the Crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, Mr Edwards was charged with having 'regard to other examples of offshore regulatory laws, systems and practices such as Gibraltar', thereby implicitly recognising Gibraltar's exemplary action in establishing a regulatory framework that could be used as a benchmark for other finance centres," Mr Montegriffo said.

Gibraltar also had one of the strictest regimes for financial regulation in Europe and its anti-money laundering legislation had been brought fully into line with EU and UK standards, he stated.

He went on to point out that Gibraltar had implemented, or was in the process of implementing, all the EU directives required.

"Madrid recently listed 65 EU directives which it claimed Gibraltar had not implemented. This is completely inaccurate," the Minister said.

Of the 65 directives, 38 had been transposed into Gibraltar legislation, while 12 did not apply to the Rock because of its legal status, he affirmed. In addition, two were not required to be transposed by the EU, three had been listed twice, and two were non-existent.

Eight were in the final stages of implementation, of which four would be transposed within the next few days, he said.

The Minister stressed the importance to Gibraltar of ensuring that there is no misrepresentation of the finance centre, "especially when this is based on such an obviously distorted and politically-motivated attack."


Anthony Fisher

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

Tel No:  + 350 50011
Fax No:  + 350 47677
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Website:  Click Contact Link 

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