Saturday, April 16, 2005

Bossano rejects Encina finance centre campaign

Leader of the Opposition Joe Bossano has defended the finance centre on Spanish radio against accusations made by Spanish PSOE MP Salvador de la Encina Ortega.

Earlier this week, in an interview on a Spanish radio station, Salvador de la Encina commented on plans to set up an anti-mafia unit in the neighbouring region of Spain to combat money laundering. Sr de la Encina also said that Gibraltar should cooperate with this Spanish initiative, and declared that the Rock is a fiscal paradise that was due to disappear by 2010. He added that 2010 was too long to wait, and said that in the so-called new climate of cooperation between Gibraltar and Spain, we should accelerate this by bringing the date forward.

As a result of this interview, Opposition Leader Joe Bossano was also asked to comment. In his intervention Mr Bossano made it clear that Salvador de la Encina was talking complete nonsense and did not know what he was saying. Mr Bossano explained that the laws against money laundering are tougher in Gibraltar than they are in Spain. He added that there is no question of bringing forward any date from 2010.

What has happened is that the European Commission agreed with the UK Government that the tax exempt company would disappear in 2010 in the knowledge that the European Court would decide before that date on a proposal by the Gibraltar Government to abolish company tax for all companies in Gibraltar.

Both the Gibraltar Government and the UK Government were confident that the European Court would decide in their favour and that it was legal for company tax to be abolished altogether, so that all companies became tax exempt.

The Leader of the Opposition told Spanish radio that Salvador de la Encina had shown himself to be remarkably ignorant of the facts.

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