Hassans Statement On Involvement Of Partners With TNG Foundation

The partners of Hassans say they note, “with regret and dismay” what they describe as an “unwarranted attack” by Marlene Hassan Nahon of Together Gibraltar on partners of Hassans, Justine Picardo and Gemma Vazquez. The firm says that Ms Hassan Nahon’s attack “spuriously raises unfair and groundless conflict of interest issues” in relation to the award of development rights by Government to a client of the Firm.

A statement continued: “Justine Picardo, together with Gemma Vasquez and other practitioners in the Firm form part of the TNG legal team.  They have assisted the TNG Foundation exclusively in respect of contracts with third parties, that is to say, NOT with the Government, relating to construction work, which is their field of expertise and which they are entitled to practice.  Neither Mrs Picardo nor Mrs Vasquez have had any other involvement whatsoever in any other aspect of the TNG Foundation transaction.

“The reference to Mrs Picardo and Mrs Vasquez in a tweet from our firm reflected the work they are doing for the TNG Global Foundation in respect of matters which do NOT involve the Government.  The tweet, a matter for the Firm’s communications team, was deleted and re-issued as amended for reasons related to marketing strategy and nothing else.

“All communications between the TNG Foundation and the Government were conducted, after the commercial terms of the transactions have been negotiated and agreed between the relevant principals on each side, by partner Ian Felice who was involved in drafting the terms of the agreement once commercial negotiations were concluded.  Ian Felice has acted for the Tuan family group since 2018.

“Mrs Picardo and Mrs Vasquez have not been involved in any negotiation with the Government for the TNG Foundation nor Mr Tuan Tran and his family.

“There is absolutely no conflict of interest whatsoever of any description for Together Gibraltar’s Marlene Hassan Nahon to pursue in respect of Mrs Picardo and Mrs Vasquez’s representation of our client.

“Hassans considers that there is no reason for Mrs Picardo, Mrs Vasquez or the Firm to be made a political issue by Ms Hassan Nahon or anyone else.  Both practitioners are entitled to practice law in Gibraltar in a manner that is consistent with the codes of ethics that govern the profession, without undue and unfair attacks of the nature directed by Ms Hassan Nahon or anyone else. It is especially unfortunate that Ms Hassan Nahon should, in particular, choose to target these two practitioners in this way when Ms Hassan Nahon purports to be supportive and encouraging of women in the workplace.”

Senior Partner of Hassans, James Levy QC said: "It is unfortunately becoming common place for political opponents of the Chief Minister to try to use our firm to try to gain a political advantage over him.  Our firm is proud of our association with our current Chief Minister.  I have full confidence in Justine and Gemma and their competence as legal practitioners. I am very disappointed to see them singled out for unwarranted political criticism in this way.”