Saudi Arabia Could be Added to Dirty Money Blacklist by the EU
The EU has a dirty money list apparently and they are considering to add Saudi Arabia to it alongside the likes of Panama and Nigeria. The inclusion of SA still needs to be voted upon by the European Parliament and EU member states but the very fact they are looking at this shows how far Saudi has fallen in recent years.
EU Commissioner for Justice Vera Jourova is pushing to extend its blacklist to 23 countries from the current 16 because of risks posed by money laundering on the economic stability of the EU itself.
“Europe is open for business, but Europe is not naive,” added Jourova, who is originally from the Czech Republic. Vera Jourova
List of high-risk 3rd countries serves no other purpose than to keep EU financial system safe and sound. It is a warning to the banking and financial sector that they must use extra caution when dealing with transactions from these countries.#moneylaundering #terroristfinancing pic.twitter.com/AEMdJCK6Ut
— Věra Jourová (@VeraJourova) February 13, 2019
EU sanctions are not triggered by inclusion on the blacklist but it does push European banks to set tighter checks on clients, all aimed to create more financial stability and security for the EU itself.
Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan said Riyadh regretted the move and was working to “improve our regulatory and legislative frameworks.”
Pre-Brexit Britain, which runs its own but smaller anti-money laundering list, asserted that an expanded EU blacklist would “confuse businesses.”
Sven Giegold, a Green member of the European Parliament’s special committee on financial crimes, described the commission’s move as a “real advance” but added that some of the “biggest” offenders were still missing.
“These include Russia, the City of London and its offshore territories, as well as Azerbaijan,” Giegold said.
The commission’s proposed additions also include Libya, Botswana, Ghana, Samoa, the Bahamas and the four US territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
Removals proposed by the commission are Bosnia, Guyana, Laos, Uganda and Vanuatu.
Reuters quoted EU sources as saying that London had opposed a blacklisting of Saudi Arabia, which is a major importer of goods and arms from the EU.
Several top British banks had sizable business with Saudi Arabia, it said.