GSD hits back at e-government on UK ‘high risk’ list

There was a fresh salvo from the GSD on Tuesday in the row over the UK’s decision to list Gibraltar as a ‘high risk’ jurisdiction after global money laundering watchdog the Group of financial action, added the Rock to its gray list earlier this year.

The Gibraltar government has repeatedly insisted the UK’s decision was automatic legislation echoing any changes to the FATF list, adding that the GSD should have known this was the case.

But the GSD insists Financial Services Minister Albert Isola suggested during the budget debate that such a step was not inevitable, adding that the UK was ‘extremely supportive’ as Gibraltar swayed. sought to remedy the only two shortcomings highlighted by the FATF.

The various takes led to a festering argument and a series of acrimonious exchanges.

On Monday, the GSD had accused the government of ‘arrogance’ in its responses, drawing a rebuke from No.6 Convent Place which accused the opposition party of ‘a staggering lack of knowledge’ about a long-established British practice .

Mr Isola said GSD MP Damon Bossino, who led the party’s response to the question, had “digged himself into a hole” and was making “dumb suggestions”.

On Tuesday, the GSD again countered the government’s position, which it said was “inconsistent” with previous statements in parliament.

The party accused Mr Isola of “using name-calling from state school boys” to “cover his own tracks”.

“It should appear that Mr. Isola has no answer to the fact that, firstly, he deliberately represented to Parliament, the financial services industry and the general public that being on the FATF gray list did not mean that Gibraltar would be subject to enhanced due diligence and, secondly, in the same breath that the UK was extremely supportive,” the GSD said in a statement.

“It was a clear implication that the industry could hope for better than being inevitably put on the high risk list.”

“Given that since 1 January 2021 the UK has run its own stand-alone list, the electorate would naturally take this ministerial declaration at face value.”

“However, if he knew it was unavoidable, surely he should have said so and not implied otherwise.”

“Or did he not know it at the time and it is his own lack of homework, which he is now trying to cover up?”

“The accusation that the Minister for Financial Services failed miserably to warn the financial services industry of, and as he now says for the first time, the seemingly inevitable inclusion in the UK list of high-risk third countries , remains unanswered.”

“The fact that the government continually fails to address this point clearly proves that it is they and not the opposition that have failed to do their homework.”

Mr Bossino added: ‘He talks about holes and digging when he didn’t know the hole Gibraltar would be in or tried to cover it up and ignore it.’

“He needs to focus more on getting us out of the hole and less on trading insults.”

Martin E. Berry