European Union adds Saudi Arabia to terrorism financing list

EU blacklists Saudi Arabia over money-laundering and terror financing

EU blacklists Saudi Arabia over money-laundering and terror financing

Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Panama are among the countries added by the European Commission to blacklisted nations for posing threats because of lax controls on terrorism financing and money laundering. This includes 12 countries listed by the Financial Action Task Force and 11 additional jurisdictions.

The commission said it added jurisdictions with "strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing frameworks".

"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 Justice Commissioner Vera Jourava said in a statement.

Four US territories along with Nigeria and Panama were also added to the 23-country list, created to protect the European Union financial system in the wake of several money laundering scandals.

"[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. They could reject it by a qualified majority.

Jourova, who proposed the list, told a news conference in Strasbourg she was confident states would not block it.

The new countries targeted by the commission, including Saudi Arabia and Panama, would join another 16 already on this register - such as Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Ethiopia and North Korea.

Bosnia, Guyana, Laos, Uganda and Vanuatu were removed.

Despite pressure to exclude Riyadh from the list, the commission made a decision to list the kingdom, confirming a Reuters report in January.

The addition of Saudi Arabia comes amid tensions between Riyadh and European capitals heightened by the murder a year ago of the columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Saudi Arabia did not respond to requests for comment by Middle East Eye at the time of writing.

"Dirty money is the driving force behind organised crime and terrorism", Jourova continued, urging countries on the list to "quickly remedy their shortcomings". "Dirty money is the lifeblood of organized crime and terrorism". "These include Russian Federation, the City of London and its offshore territories as well as Azerbaijan", said EU green legislator Sven Giegold, who sits in the European Parliament special committee on financial crimes.

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