Friday, 26 April 2013

EU Court backs Spain in demand of information from Jyske Bank

GIBRALTAR/MADRID/BRUSSELS The Court of Justice of the European Union yesterday declared its approval of the demand made by the Spanish tax authorities regarding information from Jyske Bank, which also operated in Spain, information which is needed to prevent money laundering and funding of terrorism. The Court's sentence declares that Spain's request is a 'proportionate measure' because there is as yet no mechanism that can be used among EU member states against these crimes. The case goes back to 2007, when>>>the Spanish authorities requested information from Jyske on the suspicion that the entity was being used for money laundering purposes within the framework of its activities in Spain. At the time it was suspected that Gibraltar registered companies that hid or disguised the identity of the owners and the source of the monies, were being used to buy property in Spain, particularly on the Costa del Sol.

Jyske did make a partial report but refused to reveal identities and details of the suspicious operations carried out in Spain, invoking banking regulations on the Rock. The bank was fined by Spain (€1.7 million), which it appealed in Spanish courts alleging that, according to EU rules, it was only obliged to give such information to the Gibraltar authorities, not those of Spain. This is now before Spain's Supreme Court, which asked the EUCoJ for guidance.

Yesterday's sentence says that EU regulations 'do not specifically require' financial entities operating in Spain to communicate the required information directly to Spanish authorities matters regarding money laundering or the finance of terrorism.

Therefore, it adds, the directive is not opposed to Spanish norms. In its judgement, the measure is proportionate because there is no 'complete cooperation' among national authorities, even regarding measures 'in  the general interest' on money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

In addition, the Spanish authorities make it clear that financial entities operating in Spain, regardless of where they are established, that transfers of more then €30,000 to or from 'fiscal paradises' (offshore banks) or 'non-cooperative' locations, including Gibraltar.

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