16 Aug, 2014 @ 10:00
1 min read

Gibraltar Government hits out at ‘sensationalist’ reporting of EU tobacco smuggling report

P gib border e
CHAOS: At the border

FAKE TV scenes depicting tobacco smuggling in Gibraltar have been slammed by the Gibraltar Government, following the uproar over an EU report.

According to the anti-fraud office OLAF’s report, tobacco smuggling on the Rock cost the EU €700 million in tax revenue between 2010 and 2013.

Spain’s High Court has opened up an official investigation, following the recommendation of the 400-page report, sent to the Spanish and UK governments.

“There are reasons to believe that tobacco smuggling and money laundering that affect financial and other interests of the EU have been committed in Gibraltar,” concludes the report.

However, Gibraltar’s government has hit out at the ‘sensationalist’ reporting of the findings in the Spanish media.

It has also criticised Spanish television channel Antenna 3, which has apparently been ‘staging’ tobacco smuggling scenes and then portraying them as real.

Clips on social media show the ‘smugglers’ being given directions from the Spanish TV crew, which was then broadcast as a depiction of real events.

Gibraltar’s government condemned the ‘rabid and un-objective coverage presently being afforded to Gibraltar and the issue of tobacco smuggling in the Spanish media’.

The leader of the opposition, the Gibraltar Social Democrats, Daniel Feetham, also demanded Gibraltar officials be given a copy of the report.

“The sensationalist reporting emanating from Spain contrasts sharply with the very little reporting on the EU Commission’s finding on the environmental complaint by the Spanish Government, which became public last week,” he said.



Tom Powell

DO YOU HAVE NEWS FOR US at Spain’s most popular English newspaper - the Olive Press? Contact us now via email: [email protected] or call 951 273 575. To contact the newsdesk out of regular office hours please call +34 665 798 618.


  1. You can expect no better from an immature democracy such as Spain. They are on the back foot regarding Gibraltar, and are desperate to inflict major damage to the place. This is a dangerous course of action for Spain, as the people of Gibraltar are now starting to loathe and despise anything to do with Spain. This feeling is now spreading to many in the UK. The government of the UK which has gone several miles to try to calm this situation down, has been insulted at every turn by a European and Nato ‘partner’. This story will not end well for Spain, and it is time the people of Spain knew this.

  2. Anyone who reads the Spanish press soon realises that almost every story about Gibraltar is either wildly out of proportion, out of context or just plain fabrication. When the EU ruled on bunkering etc there was hardly a squeak in Spain.

  3. Well what can you expect from a country on the verge of bankruptcy with its Gross Domestic Product or PIB at 98.5% and a gross debt of one billion? (some say trillion.)

    They need plenty of smoke and Gibraltar has always been at hand to provide that cover, albeit they have now converted it to cigarette smoke. To say that Gibraltar is the root of all its woes has always been a tried and tested alibi.

    Offically the OLAF would not comment further on its report, but lo and behold the Spanish advisor of OLAF, one Sr. Joaquín González-Herrero in his holidaying home town of Segovia said “”o cada habitante se fuma un cartón, cada 20 minutos, o hay algo extraño, porque el grado de compraventa de tabaco no se corresponde con la población del lugar” translated to “or each inhabitant smokes a carton of cigarettes every twenty minutes of there is something strnge in the grade of buying/selling of tobaco which does not correspond to population of the área”


    Maybe if OLAF had cared to have a Gibraltarian or UK advisor they would have heard from them about the 12 to 14 million tourists that come to Gibraltar each year, by sea in mega Cruise ships, by land in coaches, anything up to 50 in one day, cars and by pedestrians, or by air. Cruise ships stock up to sell tobacco on board too, as do air lines.

    That, and the fact that the Campo de Gibraltar area of Andalucía is one of the worst hit by unemployment in Spain, and there are some people who find no other avenue than to subsidise their non-employment benefits, if they have any remaining, by making trips to Gib or are being swooped up by mafia groups from Spain and being made use of for their own gain. That this is happening under the very noses of the GC right outside the Frontier on the La Linea side with very little intervention, if any, is just as “strange” whilst they commit fully to keeping the now six lanes of traffic coming from Gibraltar and the 10,000 spanish workers in Gibraltar trying to get back home hopping from one foot to another for two or three hours or however long the mood takes them, or depending on the orders they get from Madrid.

    The OLAF report says the south of Spain, but it also seems to have escaped the Spanish press that Algeciras Container Port is also in the area, as is the ferry port from Ceuta and Melilla, both exempt of the rigorous tobacco taxes placed on their Spanish counterparts on the mainland, and there is much more tobacco coming in from there than can be coming from Gibraltar.

    That Gibraltar welcomes any investigation into its legal tobacco trade goes without saying, although our Chief Minister has already done so.

    What isn’t so welcomed, presumably, is the intent of the OECD of investigating “in situ” the lax laws of the land of Spain in reference to fraud and bribery and there have been no big Headlines in the Spanish press nor the media about it other than this, which, although in Spanish, is proof that I have not taken this out of my hat, as some seem to, to when attempting to vilify all that is Gibraltarian.

    To each his own.

  4. Spain – the only major nation in Western Europe that still doesn’t recognise Kosovo.

    Spain fell 10 places on the annual global corruption index for 2013. The country slumped to 40th position on a series of scandals enveloping the royal family, the government Popular Party and the main opposition socialists. Only Syria fell further than Spain. (Global Corruption Index).

  5. Spot on Tim, this view is echoed time and time again on comment sections in the UK press.

    peter, you are right, the more people are taxed, the more they try to avoid it. When taxes are fairer, there is far more compliance.

  6. @ franc

    Yeah, Right! Pull the other one. It’s got bells on! They all march in in perfect order and speak Queen’s English too.

    That sort of comment is what makes it real for those who want to be hoodwinked and don’t bother reading anything but the headlines in their preferred press.

  7. Their utter contempt and hatred of Gibraltar is extraordinary and completely unhinged.
    They think Gibraltarians are all criminals,…Gibraltarians are all smugglers money launderers,drug traffickers ,and no Gibraltarian is to be trusted
    They have poisoned the minds of the people of Spain to bel;ieve this is all true

    They fabricate stories,peddle fantastical facts convinced that they are true
    They believe that Gibraltar has no right to exist

    They twist statistics,ignore advice and directions from the EU if it does’nt suit them.
    Their disregard for international law is shameful and making Spain a laughing stockThe Spanish government an the state controlled press are Liars Compulsive deluded liars.the level of corruption and debt renders Spain Bankrupt at all levels.
    Within Europe they have lost all repeat from the central authorities,on the international stage they have no power or influence.

    pain is a parasite of the EU never having contributed one Euro in real terms since she joined yet it behaves as it she was a world power with a divine right to bully and brow people and institutions at will..This will come to an end soon and it won’t be long..Bring it on!

  8. your all missing the point here , they want you to be in conflict, im sure i would be if i had a small island in the middle of nowhere with no navy and an army with zero moral people who don’t want to work and ethic minority’s would sue the government if they brought in national service, welcome to the uk

  9. Some great comments on here.

    Support Gibraltar until the end. I only wish that the UK govenment would play as dirty as the Spanish sometimes.

    A nationwide campaign should be started by the the media to highlight just how silly the spanish really are. Also showing just how lovely Portugal can be this time of year, they would certainly deserve the uk tourist billions€ a lot more in my oppinion.

  10. @ franc

    Does being Spanish or living in Spain make you oblivious to the truth?

    It is not being protective to take the patriotic film from your eyes.

    You can be Spanish and love your country and be lucky enough to have a job, but by the same rule of three you should understand that I, as a Gibraltarian love mine too, and if Gibraltar were doing something illegal I would be the first to point it out. The problem lies in the fact that some Spaniards believe that saying anything is wrong with theirs, or their politicians, would be tantamount to treachery. It is understandable in some ways when you hear that the OSCE included Spain in 2013 in the list of countries with restricted civil liberties next to Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Russia, Bulgaria, Albania, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, and Kosovo, after the goings on in Madrid’s demonstrations that year, which is a shame seeing you had made such progress since the death of Franco, at least where civil liberties were concerned.

    Thankfully in Gibraltar we can still hold peaceful demonstrations if we are not happy with anything. We want to keep Gibraltar the way it is, British and with the same values of democracy and fair play, but sometimes, if like another commentator says, they play dirty with you, it is time for the kid gloves to come off.

  11. I was in Gibraltar at the start of the month. Can’t see what the problem is here, they can set whatever tax rates they like as far as I am concerned. No problems driving in or out. I had some cheap drink in the car as well coming out. 1 ltr of good cognac £19.99. I stayed at the Caleta, 4 stars, went to a wedding. Although the food is meant to be good here, they served a large mass produced wedding evening meal and they put salad in the middle of the table with no utensils, no salt, pepper, good breakfast though and I am sure the a la carte would have been a little more professional… The Bus driver I met was very abrupt demanding that I give him the exact money for the fare, no can do, he backed down… The local retired people could not be more friendly though. Wife had her bag grabbed by the monkeys and she did a runner, left it there, thank got they liked the food in the bag more than her mobile. One monkey even jumped in the cable car before we were off and ripped a womans plastic bag apart for the food, so funny, highlight of the trip seeing everyone running for cover! One woman abandoned her young child on a spiral staircase as a monkey was at the top and another at the bottom, the young girl was only about 6 and she was crying away, I went and saved her but honestly, leaving your child there! So much entertainment with the monkeys, loved them. If you want some fun take a plastic bag as you will be attacked. Quite surprised that I had to put a jumper on of a night, at the start of August. I had a good time there and it made a change of scenery for us.

  12. I thought all smuggling of Tobacco came
    from Gibraltar?..LOL..


  13. Oh and I thought all fraud came from Gibraltar ..LOL…Barcenas,Pujol.O could go on …etc etc and now this!


  14. You only need to look at the property prices to see who is thriving. I had a look yesterday on rightmove. Average 2 bed apartments in Gib = £250k. Let Spain take over and they will have a 75% drop.

  15. One also is forced to recall the names of those corrupt officials in Spanish Office who have (allegedly) defrauded their own country of many times these amounts. (Roca, Seron, Lara, Munoz, Zaldivar, Yague to name but a few, on the Costa del Sol alone). However, of course, the corrupt Government of Spain will continue to do as much harm to Gibraltar as it can. It really is a shame that people cannot live and let live, and live in harmony,. Gibraltar is good for Spain, as Spain is good for Gibraltar. This all kicked off to hide the massive corruption scandal being exposed at the very top of Government (and the Spanish Royal Family), and has now escalated into something else.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

article  BB  e
Previous Story

Germany declares towel war on British tourists in Spain

nutella shelf
Next Story

Nutella prices to soar as world hazelnut crop suffers adverse weather

Latest from Crime & Law

Go toTop

More From The Olive Press