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22nd June 2022, 20:31

TG says Government must take responsibility for strategic miscalculation of Gibraltar’s grey listing by Financial Action Task Force

Together Gibraltar says the Government must take responsibility for the strategic miscalculation that led to Gibraltar’s grey listing by the global money-laundering and terrorist financing watchdog.

The political party says the failure by the Minister for Digital and Financial Services, Albert Isola, to avert this outcome would be grounds for resignation in any respectable democracy.

TG says Gibraltar’s grey-listing by the Financial Action Task Force is grave news for Gibraltar’s economy and reputation, at a time when economic forecasts are grim, inflation is rampant, Government is running a sizeable budget deficit and - it says - our national debt has grown to unprecedented levels.

The party believes the Government is downplaying the event but argues this decision by the global money laundering watchdog will cost Gibraltar and its people dearly and should have been avoided.

Together Gibraltar says the identified problems in our financial sector had been highlighted in detail in December 2019 by Moneyval, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism. TG says the Government knew what needed to be done, but they simply didn’t do enough in the eyes of international experts.

The party says the Government ought to have been aware of the enormous importance of the 2 remaining items and acted accordingly. With the grey listing, it says our nation’s good standing and the reputation of our financial services industry have been needlessly dragged through the mud - and they think this is due to the failings of the current administration.

Local companies have diverted enormous effort and resources to address noted deficiencies, and our financial services industry has made much improvement since the Moneyval Evaluation two years ago. TG expected Government to do its part too and leave no stone unturned in addressing the issues highlighted by the international watchdogs.

Gibraltar has made substantial progress to date. However, TG also think the grey listing is an opportunity to clean up the remaining areas. It says Gibraltar can, and will, pull through this together and be better for it.

The party calls for a joint parliamentary committee to investigate how these failings were allowed to occur, mitigate the damage, and ensure remedies are in place so these failings never take place again. Together Gibraltar expects this committee to question the Gambling Commissioner and Legal Services Regulatory Authority as to why the online gaming and legal sectors were specifically called out by the watchdog report.

It also calls on the Government to publish its assessment of the impact the grey listing will have on our economy and on the Government’s budget.