EU blacklists Saudi Arabia dirty money, upsets UK, US

Source:Reuters Published: 2019/2/14 20:53:41

The European Commission added Saudi Arabia, Panama and four US territories to a blacklist of nations it considers a threat because of lax controls on terrorism financing and money laundering, the EU executive said on Wednesday.

The move is part of a crackdown on money laundering after scandals at EU banks, but it has been criticized by EU countries including Britain that are worried about their economic relations with the listed states, notably Saudi Arabia. The United States has also disapproved.

The Saudi government said it regretted the decision in a statement published by the Saudi Press Agency, adding: "Saudi Arabia's commitment to combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism is a strategic priority."

Panama said it should be removed from the list as it recently adopted stronger rules against money laundering. 

Despite pressure to exclude Riyadh from the list, the commission decided to list the kingdom.

Apart from reputational damage, inclusion on the list complicates financial relations with the EU. 

The bloc's banks will have to carry out additional checks on payments involving entities from listed jurisdictions.

The list now includes 23 jurisdictions, up from 16. The commission said it added jurisdictions with "strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing regimes."


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