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14th January 2020, 15:11

'Factually incorrect and totally unfair' - Government reacts to tobacco smuggling comments by former Guardia Civil head

The Government of Gibraltar has described as "factually incorrect and totally unfair" comments by the former head of the Guardia Civil in the Campo de Gibraltar.

In an interview with Europa Sur, Guardia Civil colonel Jesus Nuñez had suggested that there was a lack of cooperation from Gibraltar on tobacco smuggling.

In a statement, Number Six says Jesus Nuñez could not be more wrong. The Government points out that Gibraltar is already voluntarily applying the Memorandum on Tobacco, agreed under the Gibraltar Protocol to the Brexit withdrawal agreement, which reduces the price difference between tobacco sold on both sides of the frontier.

Number Six states that "more actions, arrests and operations are carried out in Gibraltar by Customs against those who want to avoid the strict rules on tobacco trade, than are carried out in Spain". It states these rules are stricter than in Spain, and have been tightened further in the past years, while Spain's have been made less strict.

The Government says it's made available to Customs both legal tools and necessary assets on land and sea. The Chief Minister says he is very disappointed that Mr Nuñez has failed to understand the reality of the work being done in Gibraltar, even as he reflects the reality of the "excellent" law enforcement cooperation between Gibraltar and Spain. Fabian Picardo calls on Spain to make its anti-smuggling penalties and rules tougher in order to help Gibraltar curb attempts by Spanish nationals to smuggle tobacco.