Luxembourg finance boss blasts Ireland’s ‘false accusations’

Brexit is creating  tensions across Europe
Brexit is creating tensions across Europe

The head of Luxembourg’s financial lobby group has accused Irish politicians of making “false accusations” against the Duchy as the battle to snare London-based firms looking for a new home after Brexit intensifies.

Nicolas Mackel denied suggestions the Duchy is allowing so-called “brass plate” operations that would give firms token access to the single market.

He was responding to comments made by former Irish finance minister Eoghan Murphy earlier this year which were interpreted as a thinly veiled criticism of Luxembourg.

The chief executive of Luxembourg for Finance told the Press Association: “As long as we can get those sorts of false accusations out of the debate, I think all the other competitive elements are just a normal occurrence of business.”

“We make it a point never to talk negatively about our competitors, unlike some of them. I think it’s just like in politics - you resort to that sort of communication if you really don’t have anything to say about yourself and your strength.”

Mr Mackel believes the inflammatory remarks made by Mr Murphy in a Reuters interview - complaining that other European cities were being “very aggressive” and taking part in “creeping regulatory arbitrage”, referring to lax rules - were made for “internal political needs”.

He added: “Since then, the circumstances in Ireland have changed with a new government and they themselves having been able to make some announcements on companies (choosing Dublin after Brexit).

“So there will be no more need to resort to this sort of communication.”

A spokesperson for the Irish Department of Finance said the comment by Mr Murphy “was not a criticism of Luxembourg or any other member state”.

They added Mr Murphy had raised a number of issues during a scheduled meeting with European Commission VP Valdis Dombrovskis earlier this including “ensuring there is consistency across EU member states” in applying regulatory standards for financial services