GIBRALTAR has accused the Partido Popular (PP) in Cadiz of sensationalism and of massively inflating figures for tobacco smuggling across the border.
The allegations come after Javier de Torre – the sub-delegate of the Spanish government in Cadiz – told an international news agency that the Guardia Civil’s seizures of tobacco in the Campo de Gibraltar area accounted for 60% of all seizures in Spain.
According to figures published by the Spanish Tax Agency for 2013, however, only 55% of action relating to tobacco infractions took place in the whole of Andalucia province. This figure does not include felonies for large-scale smuggling.
The real figure of tobacco seizures at the border between Gibraltar and La Linea accounted for just 9% of total seizures in Spain, while those in the Campo de Gibraltar area – including the port of Algeciras – made up 21%.
The Gibraltar government has dismissed de Torre’s claims as yet another attempt to criminalise both the Rock and the Campo de Gibraltar.
But de Torre is not the first to blame this Andalucia-wide percentage solely on the Campo de Gibraltar. The figure has also been widely quoted in the Spanish media.
Just last week the Spanish advisor to the European Commission’s Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), Joaquín Gonzalez-Herrero, commented that, in order to explain Gibraltar’s tobacco imports every resident would have to smoke a carton of cigarettes every 20 minutes.
The controversial statement ignored the 12 million tourists that arrive in Gibraltar every year, as well as the ships, yachts and cruise-liners that must also be taken into account.
Gibraltar has already complained to the EU about Gonzalez-Herrero’s comments.