Saudi Arabia added to EU dirty money blacklist but Russia omission blasted
Saudi Arabia has been added to the European Commission’s dirty money blacklist as part of a crackdown on money laundering and terrorism financing.
Four US territories along with Nigeria and Panama were also added to the 23-country list, designed to protect the EU financial system in the wake of several money laundering scandals.
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Prominent Putin critic Bill Browder said it was “remarkable” that Russia had not been included following the $234bn (£181bn) Danske Bank money laundering scandal.
The financier described the omission as “serious and disgusting Putin appeasement.”
EU banks and financial institutions will have to carry out extra checks on payments involving entities from the 23 nations, if the list is approved by the bloc’s 28 member states.
The commission said countries on the list had “strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing frameworks.”
Its previous list contained 16 countries with US territories American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands among those added.
Libya, Botswana, Ghana, Samoa and the Bahamas were also added, while Bosnia Herzegovina, Guyana, Laos, Uganda and Vanuatu were removed from the previous list revealed in July last year.
“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,” EU commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality Vera Jourova said.
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“[The list] is a warning to the banking and financial sector that they must use extra caution when dealing with transactions from these countries,” she added.
Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and Yemen made up the list.