An honest hearing in Gibraltar

Many people may know Gibraltar only by its wedge-shaped outcropping at the opening of the Mediterranean Sea or by the Beatles song about the marriage of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Yet it may now be poised to show how perceptions of government malfeasance can lead to renewed public integrity.

An upcoming trial offers “a familiar scenario to those who study corruption: a scandal leading to reform,” noted Robert Barrington, a University of Sussex professor, in a recent post on The Global Anticorruption Blog.

The heightened concern about corruption in Gibraltar, a territory under British authority at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, dates back four years. In 2020, its top law enforcement officer, Ian McPhail, abruptly retired halfway through his term as police commissioner. Gibraltar has been on and off international watchlists in connection with illicit financial activity such as gambling, money laundering, and funding for terrorism. Mr. McPhail said he was forced to resign just as he was poised to expose fraud by senior officials.

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