March 10, 2014
UK complains about Argentine threat to punish oil drilling in Malvinas
Britain has accused Argentina of "bullying tactics" over its threat to punish oil firms operating off the Malvinas Islands with heavy fines, the seizure of assets and jail sentences of up to 15 years.
The Foreign Office (FCO) insisted the Islands were not subject to a new law passed last month by the Argentine Congress, and branded it "a baseless gesture intended to deter legitimate commercial activity".
The FCO director for the Americas, Kate Smith, has now lodged a formal protest with the Argentine charge d'affaires, Oscar Horacio Galli.
It follows a law change aimed at criminalising individuals or companies involved in the oil industry within the Argentine continental shelf, without approval by Buenos Aires.