GIBRALTAR hit back at Spanish press reports it was going soft on tobacco smuggling and said it was keeping to a 2018 agreement to keep its prices 32% less than Spain.
Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said it was ‘ludicrous’ that Spanish media was suggesting the Rock would ever ‘fail to comply with its legal obligations’.
The Gibraltar Government said it was still ‘fully compliant with the 2018 Memorandum of Understanding on Tobacco and other products’ in a statement Sunday.
It followed an incident where Spanish customs chased smugglers onto a Gibraltar beach.
Although the MoU is no longer in effect, the government said it was also ‘providing for exchange of information mechanisms concerning tobacco importation and sales’.
The government denied the figures published by the Spanish press which suggested people could be in possession of 200 cartons containing 40,000 cigarettes.
“That figure is in fact 10 cartons (2,000 cigarettes),” the government said in the statement.
“In the restricted areas, the permitted quantity is three cartons, not 60 cartons as they publish.” it added.
Picardo accused ‘certain sections of the media’ of trying to ‘increase pressure on the Government in the negotiations’.
“His Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar will never fail to comply with its legal obligations and will not fail to cooperate with law enforcement colleagues,” Picardo said.
“It is ludicrous for any media anywhere to suggest the contrary.
“Whilst we will not usually comment on anonymous badmouthing of Gibraltar in Spain, we will not permit our compliance with obligations and the good name of our law enforcement officers to be besmirched in this way.”