EU countries reject updated money laundering list

The EU Member States unanimously reject a draft list of 23 countries outside the EU that pose a risk for Europe when it comes to money laundering and terrorist financing. The European Commission had updated the black list last month, but the Member States say Thursday that they can not support the list in a statement.

The money laundering list has been used since 2015 by banks, which are required by the EU Money Laundering Directive to monitor extra transactions involving clients and financial institutions from the countries on the list. EU Commissioner Vera Jourova (Justice) added twelve new countries, including Saudi Arabia, American Samoa, Panama and Nigeria. Five countries were removed, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, while old acquaintances such as Iran, North Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan remained.

In a statement, Member States state that the list was not established “in a transparent and flexible process”, actively encouraging the countries concerned to take action and to respect their right to rebuttal.

The EU’s daily management is “disappointed with the rejection of the list without any discussion”, a spokesperson said. “The European Commission has carried out a thorough and very transparent evaluation.” The European Parliament must also have its say on the proposed list.

By the way, the committee is thrown out on Thursday in a recommendation for not completely transposing the European anti-money laundering rules into national law. That should have been done by June 2017 at the latest. The Hague must respond within two months, writes Brussels in an opinion, otherwise a case threatens for the European Court of Justice.

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