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LETTERS / Gibraltar: EC directives, drugs and direct rule

From Mr Albert Poggio Sir: Sensationalism is not a term usually associated with the Independent but your articles on Gibraltar (14 December) bear little relation to the facts. There is absolutely no truth in the allegations made in the articles that Gibraltar is reluctant to implement directives on money laundering. Nor is there any basis for saying that the Financial Services Commission is failing to do its job in regulating and supervising financial institutions. The directives are at the point of being implemented. They were discussed with the British Government in February this year. Implementation by Gibraltar is not substantially behind other jurisdictions. The UK itself, for example, finalised its own arrangements only last month.

Your coverage appears to support the Spanish position at the forthcoming talks between Senor Solano, Spain's Foreign Minister and Douglas Hurd. They do not give much attention to the Spanish Government's increase in the harassment of people at the bordercontrol into and out of Gibraltar.

The articles also comment on the smuggling of drugs from Gibraltar into Spain. The trafficking of cannabis in Spain comes from Morocco by sea. It is illogical that drugs should be transported from Morocco to Gibraltar and then on to Spain. If anything, it is the infiltration of drugs such as cocaine and heroin from Spain into Gibraltar since the frontier opened in 1985 that causes concern.

Yours sincerely, ALBERT POGGIO Director Gibraltar Information Bureau London, WC2

14 December