By Laura Kemp •
Published: 22 Apr 2020 • 8:47
The coronavirus crisis and the government’s proposals to mitigate its effects on the economy have caused thousands of Spanish residents to transfer their savings from Spain to elsewhere.
The favourite destination so far has been Luxembourg, one of the largest banking centres in the European Union. The number of accounts opened by Spanish citizens in that small territory has skyrocketed in recent weeks, especially after Pablo Iglesisas, the vice-prime minister of the Government tweeted on March 29 that “all the wealth of the country” is subordinate to the “general interest”.
However, the tweet was only a reiteration of article 128 of the Constitution, not a message from his own socialist thought, which the population erroneously interpreted it as a foreshadowing of future confiscatory measures.
“We are up to our knees with work. The number of accounts opened by Spaniards has tripled. The trend started before this infamous tweet, but since then it has exploded” says the head of a financial entity with an office in Luxembourg.
“We are having requests from clients to move the money away for fear of the Spanish political climate,” acknowledges the head of an international bank that asks for anonymity due to confidentiality.
“In the investment committees every week, my German and Swiss partners do not believe what they hear from our country [Spain] about the legal security of savings,” explains the ‘country head’ of another international institution. A senior JP Morgan executive also admits that they are receiving requests to open accounts in Switzerland.
The sources consulted assure that this is precisely the reason why some Spaniards are taking their money to Luxembourg and Switzerland. In a bid to secure part of their savings in countries that offer guarantees.
Spain has not stopped offering them, but the tweet by Pablo Iglesias and other messages, such as the one issued by the Minister of Labour, Yolanda Díaz , that same March 29, which assured that the government would prioritise “the general interest over that of the individual”, extended even more fear among savers. One of the individuals who has relocated part of their wealth in these two territories is the president of one of the largest textile companies in Catalonia.
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Originally from UK, Laura is based in Axarquia and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features.
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