Below is shown an extract from a letter sent in March 1999 by the Hon. Peter Montegriffo, Minister for Trade & Industry in the Gibraltar Government to 300 senior journalists in the UK, in response the accusations made by the Spanish Government.

The Financial Times reported on 5th February 1998: "Using Gibraltar, which has had to upgrade its rules to EU standards, as a benchmark," Mr Cook said "he wanted all territories with financial sectors to have 'the highest standards of regulation'."

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.

Gibraltar has one of the strictest regimes for financial regulation in Europe.

Gibraltar's only exclusions from its membership of the EU are that it is outside the customs union, it is exempted from the requirement to levy VAT and it is excluded from the Common Agricultural Policy. It has had to bring its regulation of financial services into full compliance with the EU.

Gibraltar also has the requirement that wherever UK standards of financial regulation exceed the minimum requirements set down by the EU, Gibraltar must match the higher UK standards.

The Financial Services Commission, Gibraltar's independent regulatory body, is staffed at senior level with personnel of wide experience in financial services industry regulation.

Gibraltar's anti-money laundering legislation has been brought fully into line with EU and UK standards.

Doug Henderson, Minister for Europe at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, on 6th October 1997, wrote to Fernando Carpentieri, President of the Financial Actions Task Force, which is an anti-money laundering organisation set up by the OECD, stating:

"Gibraltar has a good story to tell in the fight against illicit trafficking. Gibraltar's anti-money laundering regulation has been brought fully into line with EU and UK standards on an all-crimes basis. The Government of Gibraltar has also set up new enforcement bodies, including the Gibraltar Financial Intelligence Unit, to investigate, in line with the legislation, disclosures from financial institutions."

On 27th January 1997, EU Commissioner, Mrs Gradin in an answer on behalf of the European Commission on the subject of money laundering stated:

"The Commission has no evidence that front companies, based in Gibraltar dedicated to laundering money from organised crime, are being tolerated in that territory."

In the International Narcotics Control Strategy Report 1997 produced by the US Government's Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, Spain was listed as one of the countries of primary concern in a list in which Gibraltar does not appear.

Gibraltar has implemented, or is 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 reality is that of these 65 directives;

  • 38 have been transposed into Gibraltar legislation
  • 12 do not apply to Gibraltar because of its legal status (i.e. because they relate to the free movement of goods or agriculture)
  • 2 are not required to be transposed by the EU
  • 3 have been listed twice
  • 2 do not exist. They do not appear as directives.
  • 8 are in the final stages of implementation, 4 of which will be transposed within the next few days

You may well be aware of most, if not all, of these issues already. However, I am sure you appreciate 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. I would be happy to expand on any of these issues if this would be helpful. If you wish to speak to me I would be grateful if you would, in the first instance, call Anthony Fisher, the Gibraltar Finance Centre Development Director.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Licensed by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission - Licence No: FSC 00094B