EU adds more countries, including Saudi Arabia, to money laundering “blacklist”

The European Commission has recently added a number of countries to its “blacklist”, which consists of states its considers to not have adequate controls on money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Among them is Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Panama, and several US territories.

Saudi Arabia has made the list, despite pressure from officials who are worried about the impact it will have on trade. The country is rich in oil. However, it’s been accused of being too relaxed in terms of laws to stop money being sent to fund extremists and terrorists.

Vera Jourova, commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality said in an interview: “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.”

“Dirty money is the lifeblood of organised crime and terrorism. I invite the countries listed to remedy their deficiencies swiftly. The commission stands ready to work closely with them to address these issues in our mutual interest.”

Money laundering is a key concern for the EU, with banks reporting an increase in money laundering activity. When countries are considered to have weak rules regarding the prevention on money laundering, or fail to prevent the funding of terrorist organisations, they are added to the list.

It means that, going forward, banks in the EU must carry out more thorough checks on any payments sent to entities within the state, as well as the 23 others included on the newly reviewed list. As it stands, the list currently includes the following states:

Saudi Arabia,Nigeria, Panama, Libya, Botswana, Ghana, Samoa, the Bahamas and the four United States territories of American Samoa, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam, Afghanistan, North Korea, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and Yemen.


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