European Union adds Saudi Arabia to 'dirty money' blacklist

Remigio Civitarese
Febbraio 14, 2019

Saudi Arabia has been added to the European Commission's dirty money blacklist as part of a crackdown on money laundering and terrorism financing.

A diplomat said objections to the new list were not linked to fallout from the Khashoggi murder and a desire to appease Saudi Arabia.

The EU list is mostly based on criteria used by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global body composed by wealthy nations meant to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.

The EU released its first ever blacklist past year in the wake of the Panama Papers leak, but was widely criticised for failing to apply its criteria to its own states which have some of the world's worst tax havens.

Brussels also added to its list Libya, Botswana, Ghana, Samoa, the Bahamas and the four United States territories of American Samoa, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam.

The other listed countries are Afghanistan, North Korea, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and Yemen.

The commission said it added jurisdictions with "strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing regimes".

"We have established the strongest anti-money laundering standards in the world, but we have to make sure that dirty money from other countries does not find its way to our financial system", Vera Jourova, European Commissioner for Justice said in a statement.

Bosnia-Herzegovina, Guyana, Laos, Uganda and Vanuatu were removed from the list.

The proposal must now be approved by the European Parliament and the 28 member states, with France and Britain against the new list.

Being on the blacklist does not only constitute reputational damage, it will also complicate financial relations with the European Union, as the bloc's banks will have to carry out additional checks on payments involving entities from listed jurisdictions.

She said it was urgent to act on the list because of the "risks spread like wildfire in the banking sector". They could reject it by a qualified majority.

"Some of the biggest dirty-money washing machines are still missing. These include Russian Federation, the City of London and its offshore territories as well as Azerbaijan", said Greens lawmaker Sven Giegold, who sits in the European Parliament special committee on financial crimes.

Altre relazioniGrafFiotech

Discuti questo articolo

Segui i nostri GIORNALE