The Finance Ministry responded to a recent newspaper article about Bermudian authorities “refusing” to assist Spain with a financial investigation, saying it was “categorically untrue.”
The Ministry said that neither the Bermuda Government or any related agencies in Bermuda were contacted by Spanish Authorities about the matter.
The article pertained to Luis Barcenas — a former Senator and Treasurer of Spain’s ruling Popular Party — who has been the subject of scandal since news broke that he amassed an “unexplained” sum of around $30 million in a Swiss bank account.
The local newspaper article attributed the information to “Sur” an English newspaper in Spain. The original article on “Sur” — which can be read here — claimed “Spanish authorities have been wanting to investigate Impala for some time but have been refused cooperation from the Bermuda authorities.”
Impala Ltd is a company created in Bermuda in 2001. The article also said that “four citizens of Bermuda” were showing as authorised to use a Swiss bank account connected with this matter.
The Ministry said they consulted with all relevant authorities in Bermuda including:
- The Central Authority of the Attorney-General’s Chambers
- The Department of Public Prosecutions
- The Financial Intelligence Agency
- Ministry of Justice/Office of the National Anti-Money Laundering Committee
- Customs Department
- Financial Crime Unit
- The Bermuda Monetary Authority
- The Registrar of Companies.
The Ministry said it is “categorically untrue in that neither the Government of Bermuda, nor the aforementioned Government-related authorities received contact from Spanish Authorities on this matter.”
“Bermuda prides itself for its global recognition as a fully cooperative jurisdiction in all spheres of international cooperation including in the Regulatory, Anti Money Laundering, and Tax Information Exchange areas,” the Ministry said.
“There are multiple government entities as well as those in the private sector that daily work very hard to protect and enhance Bermuda’s sterling international reputation in a world where there are those that might stereotype us as an uncooperative jurisdiction that assists international criminals to hide their ill-gotten gains.
“It is vital for the future growth of this economy and the creation of jobs for Bermudians that inaccurate stories are not repeated and given implicit credence in doing so,” the Ministry of Finance statement concluded.
On Wednesday [Feb 6] Mr Barcenas — who originally stepped down as treasurer in 2009 after being implicated in corruption – was greeted by protesters as he arrived for questioning by prosecutors in Madrid, Spain. The BBC reports shouts of “thief!” and “where is my envelope?” could be heard.
According to the BBC, the latest allegations have particularly angered the public as the Spanish government is “demanding huge sacrifices from the public as the country battles recession and 25% unemployment.”
- Duty Free Shopping In Arrivals Lounge
- GDP Figures ‘Not Unanticipated’
- Deuss Receives 6 Month Suspended Sentence
- Airport Duty Rate Returns To 25%
- BEPRO To Host Forum On Economy
- Minister: Overall Funding Stepped Up