Many of those reading this will be aware that tensions between Spain and Gibraltar have led to a virtual blockade with transit times from the Rock to Spain – and vice versa – often running into hours rather than minutes. A live video video feed is now available 24 hours a day on the following link Frontier Queue Live – Gibraltar.
It is not the place of this web site to provide any view as to the rights and wrongs of the situation that has led to this state of affairs beyond noting that it is harming the economies of both Gibraltar and the outlying regions known as the Campo de Gibraltar with significant distress being caused to ordinary workers employed within Gibraltar both Spanish and non-Spanish alike.
A thorny question. The provision of a business meal on expenses would generally not fall foul, unless of course the invitee is being flown in a private jet to some far flung destination. An extreme example, but businesses are, or should be, well aware of the limits.
According to The Rt Hon Gilbert Licudi QC MP in his Budget Speech of 9th July 2012 The Crimes Act 2011 is due to come into force on 1st October 2012. Sections 566 to 582 cover offences of bribery and are similarly drafted to the Bribery Act 2010 in England and Wales which came into force on 1st July 2011. Not only will those directly involved in the giving and receiving of a bribe be liable to prosecution, but so also will an incorporated body or partnership be liable to prosecution if an “associated” person bribes another. This will mean that such bodies or partnership will have to put into place adequate procedures preventing such conduct. If such adequate procedures exist then a statutory defence is available under Section 572(2).
At Governor’s Street Chambers we are in a position to advise those at risk as to the measures that need to be taken to prevent the mischief aimed by the new Act. Over the next few weeks we shall be publishing on this website general advice and looking at the impact of these sections as they will affect businesses either operating in Gibraltar or having been incorporated in Gibraltar carrying on business elsewhere. Those in this latter category will still be caught by the Act, as indeed they would also be under the 2010 Act.
The first prosecution in England attracted an immediate custodial sentence of 3 years for a magistrates’ court clerk accepting a bribe of £500, which sentence was not reduced by the Court of Appeal, although the court did reduce his sentence for misconduct of public office from 6 years to 4 years, to run concurrently.
We would advise that businesses should put in place procedures in an attempt to prevent bribery by its employees or agents. Should a business discover conduct which could amount to bribery, then we would advise obtaining expert independent legal advice.
Duty Solicitor Scheme established
The Government has announced that next month there will come into force a scheme to provide for the provision of legal advice to persons in custody following arrest.
A scheme to provide such services has been in place in the United Kingdom for many years. The communication sent to the legal profession was not clear as to the provisions that would most directly be of concern to them.
GIBRALTAR CHRONICLE , Monday, 18th July 2011
“We are as well regulated as New York, London or Frankfurt”
by F Oliva
Gibraltar’s finance centre is “transparent, open to cooperation” with other countries, and compliant with international financial regulations such as EU anti-money laundering directives and tax exchange information agreements.
Speaking at a high-powered seminar of judges, magistrates and judicial officials in the Universidad Internacional de Andalucia in Huelva, Minister for Justice Daniel Feetham also rejected allegations that the Rock’s finance activities were shrouded in secrecy.
“We are not geographically or technically an offshore centre, or even a ‘fiscal paradise’ but a fully onshore, compliant and well regulated jurisdiction,” he declared.
Mr Feetham, who was invited to attend by Algeciras judge Manuel Gutierrez Luna, stated that Gibraltar is subject to the 3rd Anti-Money Laundering Directive just like all other EU member states, and to any other current or future stipulation which includes tracking down all crimes, including the proceeds of drug trafficking and the financing of terrorist activities.
Gibraltar also complies with other European cooperation initiatives against crime such as the Mutual Assistance Directive, Market Abuse Directive, Tax Savings Directive and other Schengen provisions.
Mr Feetham said he was proud of Gibraltar’s notable achievements in the field of international banking and insurance supervision, noting an International Monetary Fund review in 2007 which found the Rock’s banking sector “totally compatible with 27 of the 30 applicable international norms, and largely compatible with the remaining three.”
In the insurance sector, the IMF review found Gibraltar fully compliant with 24 out of 28 international norms and largely compliant with the remaining three.
“These are among the highest standards of supervision attained by any country in an IMF review, and we are keen to maintain the finance centre at the vanguard of international regulation and supervision” said the Minister.
Gibraltar also complies with the vast majority of the 40+9 special recommendations by the Financial Action Task Force, something which has been independently verified twice by the IMF. Mr Feetham also noted that the 2007 inspection found Gibraltar as “not complying or only partially complying” with just six of the 16 core FATF recommendations.
“This places us ahead of many large countries in terms of the efficiency of our laws and anti-money laundering detection mechanisms.”
The IMF review and an independent assessment of the activities of the Rock’s Financial Services Commission concluded that “supervision is generally effective and exhaustive” and that Gibraltar is “a competent supervisor,” said the Minister.
Mr Feetham said that Gibraltar’s new tax system is non-discriminatory which allows it to be a competitive and attractive business location, has budget surpluses and a net debt below 22% of GDP. He said that the Rock was not a fiscal paradise even though it was a low tax jurisdiction.
As regards cross-border cooperation, Mr Feetham recalled last year’s Fletcher financial impact report which attributed 12.2% of the Campo’s total GDP to its economic interaction with Gibraltar.
“Gibraltar imported £174m in goods and services from Spain, Spanish workers in Gibraltar spent £27m of their local earnings in Spain, while frontier workers spent a further £36m. Gibraltarians spent £30m in Spain while Gibraltarians with a second home in Spain spent £30m. Spanish visitors to Gibraltar spent £134m.
“This represents a direct effect by the economy of Gibraltar on that of the Campo of £167,9 m.”
Mr Feetham also noted that Gibraltar is not a large market for drugs consumption and described the local problem as “minor and limited to personal use.” He said there were stiff prison sentences for drug possession offences and that there was a “zero tolerance regime” toward drugs, which exercised an efficient deterrent effect on drug traffickers.
The Minister explained that the Rock’s geographical location beside a major cannabis producer and exporter such as Morocco and at the doorstep of Spain which is the main entry point of cocaine into Europe, could tempt organized crime groups operating in these countries to use corporate vehicles in Gibraltar for their criminal money laundering activities.
However, the level of regulation and supervision that exists is such that “there is no systemic risk of the Rock being used for this.”
“All the providers of financial services in Gibraltar are obliged by law to apply the same control systems, with high standards of anti-money laundering safeguards regardless of their size or activity, under the close control and supervision of the local Financial Services Commission.”
Mr Feetham further commented that the regime under which the FSC operates its anti money-laundering policy is more robust than in UK in certain areas.