By Rebecca Maguire
GIBRALTAR has promised to help Spain uncover any suspected tax evasion on the Rock.
Chief Minister Fabian Picardo insisted that he was prepared to give out information of any Spanish tax evaders if necessary.
Defending the Rock’s reputation during a lecture on the 300th anniversary of the Treaty of Utrecht in Sevilla, he stressed that Gibraltar fully complied with EU and international regulations on money laundering and tax evasion.
He explained, “The fact Gibraltar is on the white list tells you it is not a tax haven.”
He continued: “We have shown a readiness to help Spain to identify possible tax evasion on the Rock, but we have not had a single request for data from the Spanish authorities.”
Since the beginning of 2013, Gibraltar has been part of a multilateral agreement to share tax information between E.U. members.
But the Spanish government does not believe the system is effective, so the fight against tax fraud is high on the agenda of the next European summit on May 22.
Spanish Finance Minister Cristobal Montoro recently announced the creation of a government working group to focus specifically on Spanish tax evasion in Gibraltar.
He believes the problem is costing Spain hundreds of millions of euros every year.
However, according to the Chief Minister, “The world regards Gibraltar as a fully compliant financial services jurisdiction much as Frankfurt, London, Paris or Madrid and it is only Spain that continues to beat Gibraltar with the label of tax haven for its own nefarious purposes.”
Gibraltar’s corporate tax is now 10%, compared with Spain’s 30%, but Picardo cited Ireland as another EU country with similar corporation tax levels to Gibraltar.