Gibraltar: the inside story of the Marrache collapse and what it means for offshore firms

 Gibraltar is a small place, where everyone knows everyone. Perhaps that is one reason why the collapse of law firm Marrache & Co in 2010 sent such shockwaves through the jurisdiction.

The fall of Marrache & Co and its trust company subsidiaries has not simply been a story of a firm shutting its doors. It took over three years for the Gibraltar authorities to bring the firm’s founders to trial over fraud charges, and the best part of nine months before Benjamin, Isaac and Solomon Marrache were found guilty and jailed.

As this week’s lead analysis reveals, the case has been a legal drama on an unprecedented scale. Marrache & Co’s liquidators estimate there is at least £28m of client funds still to recover. Meanwhile the case has cost over £6m in Gibraltar taxpayers’ money, caused several changes to the legal aid regime, and prompted political backbiting between the government and opposition. 

But the tale does not end there. On Monday this week (13 October), almost a year to the day since the Supreme Court trial began, the Marrache brothers’ appeal against conviction and sentencing began in the Gibraltar Court of Appeal.

The appeal follows last week’s failed attempt by Benjamin Marrache to challenge the appointment of retired English High Court judge Mr Justice Grigson. Marrache is understood to be planning a further appeal to the Privy Council on the constitutional issues.

With the appeal ongoing, the full impact of the Marrache case has yet to be felt. Expect more tremors running through the Rock in the weeks and months to come.

PS. We’ve launched a competition to win two tickets for critically-acclaimed legal musical The Scottsboro Boys at the Garrick Theatre – enter here!

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