SAHARANEWS – European Union (EU) has identified 23 countries that pose money laundering and terror financing risks.
The EU listed and added Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Panama and others to a blacklist of nations seen as posing a threat because of lax controls on terrorism financing and money laundering.
The move, SaharaNews gathered, is part of a crackdown on money laundering after several scandals at E.U. banks.
It has, however, been criticized by several E.U. countries including Britain, expressing worries and concern about their economic relations with the listed states, notably Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi government said it regretted the decision in a statement obtained by SaharaNews , adding: “Saudi Arabia’s commitment to combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism is a strategic priority”.
Despite pressure to exclude Riyadh from the list, the commission decided to list the kingdom, confirming a news report in January.
Panama said it should be removed from the list because it recently adopted stronger rules against money laundering.
Apart from reputational damage, inclusion on the list complicates financial relations with the E.U. The bloc’s banks will have to carry out additional checks on payments involving entities from listed countries.
Findings by SaharaNews showed that the list now includes 23 countries, from the existing 16. The commission said it added countries with “strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing regimes”.
Other newcomers on the list are Libya, Botswana, Ghana, Samoa, the Bahamas and the four United States territories of American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam.
The other listed states are Afghanistan, North Korea, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and Yemen.
Findings by SaharaNews , however, revealed that Bosnia, Guyana, Laos, Uganda and Vanuatu were removed.