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Michael Castiel talks to Tax Analysts in “Gibraltar fires back at EU over expanded state aid probe”

Tax Analysts, a leading online global tax information news service, published an article this week following the Gibraltar government’s decrying of the European Commission’s decision to expand its state aid investigation into the British overseas territory’s corporate tax regime to include its tax ruling practices, saying that the decision is “demonstrably wrong”.
The article states:

Michael Castiel of Hassans International Law firm in Gibraltar noted that in Ireland’s and Luxembourg’s cases, the commission singled out specific tax rulings but that in Gibraltar’s case, it has called into question every tax ruling issued since ITA 2010 entered into force. That move has potentially damaging implications for Gibraltar’s reputation and reduced the credibility of the commissions’ argument.

It continues:

According to Castiel, the commission’s decision came as a surprise to Gibraltar because the government had been cooperating fully with the commission during its on-going state aid investigation.

Michael commented:
“At no point was there any inkling that things were going to turn out in this way, that’s why the Gibraltar government’s response was fairly scathing”.

The piece concludes:

Castiel expressed confidence that Gibraltar’s government will be able to disprove the commissions’ allegations. He said that in his experience working with the Income Tax Office to obtain tax rulings for his clients, the territory’s tax authorities have been scrupulous and thorough with Michael commenting:
“this notion that the tax authorities in Gibraltar are skimming over things – frankly, I cannot see where the commission is getting that from”.

Castiel said that despite the apparent tensions, the situation is unlikely to have a negative effect on the working relationship between the commission and Gibraltar.

Michael closed the article stating:
“Even though the government is very annoyed at what happened, I don’t think it’s going to change the cooperation its’ giving to the commission”.

The full article can be read on a subscription only basis at

About Michael Castiel
Michael Castiel, a senior partner at Hassans, specialises in international tax, corporate and business law. Michael’s expertise also extends to corporate restructuring, joint venture work, mergers and acquisitions, franchising law and insolvency, often advising both receivers and liquidators in high profile cases.
He regularly advises major US, Canadian and European multi-nationals on setting up innovative offshore structures and operations, as well as the structuring of cross-border transactions.
Michael is listed as a leading lawyer in his field by both Chambers and Partners and Legal 500, the leading global legal directories whose rankings are based on client and peer feedback.
Having studied law at London University and at the Inns of Court School of Law, Michael was called to the English and Gibraltar Bar in 1993. In addition to his legal training and management and business administration qualifications, Michael also has eight years’ UK industry experience.