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

Postado Fevereiro 14, 2019

The European Commission has added Saudi Arabia to a list of 23 countries seen as havens for money laundering and the financing of terrorism. They are anxious about their economic relations with the listed states, notably, Saudi Arabia.

Criteria used to blacklist the countries include low sanctions against money laundering and terrorism financing.

The EU released its first ever blacklist a year ago 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.

Other countries from the Middle East previously added to the commission's list include Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen.

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

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

Under the new European Union methodology, jurisdictions could also be blacklisted if they do not provide sufficient information on ownership of companies or if their rules on reporting suspicious transactions or monitoring financial customers are considered too lax.

Also added to the list which was initially 16, are Saudi Arabia, Panama, Saudi Arabia, Panama, Libya, Botswana, Ghana, Samoa, the Bahamas and four USA territories of American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam. They could reject it by a qualified majority.

Bosnia, Guyana, Laos, Uganda and Vanuatu were removed.

She said it was urgent to act because "risks spread like wildfire in the banking sector". They are Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago and the three U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam and U.S. Virgin Islands.

Critics said the list fell short of including several countries involved in money-laundering scandals in Europe.

"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 EU green legislator Sven Giegold, who sits in the European Parliament special committee on financial crimes.

Jourova said the commission will continue monitoring other jurisdictions not yet listed. Among the states that will be closely monitored are the United States and Russian Federation.