'Gibraltar fails to help fight money-laundering'

15th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

15 March 2005, MADRID- Gibraltar is not cooperating in the fight against money laundering, Spain's public prosecutor said.

15 March 2005

MADRID- Gibraltar is not cooperating in the fight against money laundering, Spain's public prosecutor said.

Candido Conde-Pumpido made the comments after nine people were remanded in custody over a multi-million-dollar laundering network.

He said told Spain's Punto Radio: "It is not co-operating in the fight against money laundering.

"It's worrying," he added, stressing that "political action" was needed to crack down on tax havens such as Gibraltar, a British possession on Spain's Mediterranean south coast.

"There is no sense in the existence of enclaves which serve as a platform for laundering," Conde-Pumpido added.

On Monday, he said police had uncovered only the "tip of the iceberg" in their investigations around the southern resort of Marbella, where nine people have been remanded in custody out of a total of 41 people from six countries detained over recent days on suspicion of money laundering.

Conde-Pumpido told Spanish radio that a "monster of the international mafia" had set up in wealthy tourist resorts in the southern region of Andalusia, such as Marbella, using a law firm as a front.

Late on Monday, judicial sources said the Chilean lawyer who runs the firm and who is believed to be the mastermind behind the operation had been remanded in custody following questioning.

Investigators believe the lawyer, Fernando Del Valle, allegedly set up a network of property and front companies whose traces disappear into offshore accounts in Gibraltar.

Police sources say up to EUR 600m may have been laundered in one of the largest such operations ever dismantled in Europe, and certainly the biggest in Spain.

Anti-corruption investigators put the figure at a minimum of US$250m.

Del Valle's personal secretary was released late Monday on bail of EUR 30,000.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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