Friday, April 01, 2005

Gibraltar's FSC satisfied with anti-money laundering regulations

Commissioner Killick • No request for info regarding "Operacion Ballena Blanca"

Gibraltar’s anti-money laundering regulations are more stringent than those that exist in UK which is considered one of the strongest jurisdictions against this activity, Financial Services Commissioner Marcus Killick said to the Chronicle yesterday. He said Gibraltar’s financial regulatory mechanisms had a “good record” which have been endorsed internationally.

Commenting on recent allegations by the Spanish Attorney General and on Antena Tres seeking to link the Rock with the Marbella money laundering scam (operacion Ballena Blanca), Mr Killick said that “in the interests of Gibraltar and in the interests of justice,” for the FSC to conduct an investigation would require hard evidence of wrong-doing and not just a simple allegation in the media.

Mr Killick declined to comment as regards any specific investigation carried out by the Commission. He said they received information all the time and although some resulted in the matter being pursued, there were other occasions when the information received proved to be spurious.

Meanwhile he also expressed irritation that despite the allegations made in the Spanish media in recent times, no request for information or cooperation had been received from any authority in respect of any of these.

He said their policy of not making any comments was designed to protect innocent parties being brought into question, and so not to prejudice legitimate investigations.

Instead they would go public at the appropriate time as they had done in the past, with the results of an investigation conducted by the FSC.

Mr Killick said that when information is brought to their attention or when there is a request from other regulators or as a result of their own investigations, that lead them to believe that there has been a breach of local regulation requirements, “we will investigate.”

In reply to Chronicle questions, Mr Killick declared that money laundering occurs in all jurisdictions in the world although Gibraltar is one of the most difficult in which to conduct these activities. “We are happy to cooperate with other regulators within the boundaries of accepted confidentiality, and must remain vigilant to ensure the local financial services are not abused by criminal activity,” he added.

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