Saudi Arabia and four United States territories added to European Union dirty money blacklist

14 Février, 2019, 03:39 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Anti-graft war suffers setback as EU adds Nigeria to ‘dirty-money backlist

The European Commission added Saudi Arabia, Panama and other jurisdictions to a blacklist of nations that pose a threat to the bloc because of lax controls against terrorism financing and money laundering, the EU executive said Wednesday.

Also added to the list which was initially 16, are Saudi Arabia, Panama, Saudi Arabia, Panama, Libya, Botswana, Ghana, Samoa, the Bahamas and four United States territories of American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam. "Dirty money is the lifeblood of organized crime and terrorism".

The EU move follows a string of money-laundering cases involving some of the bloc's biggest banks, highlighting shortcomings in the EU's framework. Danske Bank A/S is at the heart of a dirty money scandal involving suspicious funds that flowed from Russian Federation and elsewhere through its Estonian unit.

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. "My aim is not to list countries for the sake of listing them".

The move is part of a crackdown on money laundering after several scandals at European Union banks but has been criticized by several European Union countries including Britain anxious about their economic relations with the listed states, notably Saudi Arabia.

This is the first time the commission has compiled a blacklist based on its own methodology. This includes 12 countries listed by the Financial Action Task Force and 11 additional jurisdictions.

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The new countries targeted by the commission, including Saudi Arabia and Panama, would join another 16 already on this register - such as Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Ethiopia and North Korea.

The list now includes 23 jurisdictions, with Bosnia Herzegovina, Guyana, Laos, Uganda and Vanuatu removed.

Inclusion on the list does not trigger sanctions, but apart from reputational damage, inclusion on the list complicates financial relations with the EU.

The proposal must now be approved by the European Parliament and the 28 member states, with France and Britain against the new list. They could reject it by a qualified majority.

Vera Jourova, EU justice commissioner, who proposed the list, was quoted as saying she was confident states would not block it.

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