The European Commission added Saudi Arabia, Panama, Nigeria and other jurisdictions to a blacklist of nations that pose a threat because of lax controls on terrorism financing and money laundering, the EU executive said on Wednesday.
“The European Commission adopted today a list of 23 third countries with weak rules against money laundering and terrorism financing. I would like first to explain the context and our main objectives.
“The EU must not be a destination for illicit money. The EU financial system must not serve as a vehicle for money laundering and must not serve as an instrument for financing crime including terrorism,” said Vera Jourova, EU commissioner for justice and gender equality.
The move triggered criticism from several EU states worried about their economic relations with the listed states, notably Saudi Arabia.
Despite pressure to exclude Riyadh from the list, the commission decided to add the kingdom to a list that now includes 23 jurisdictions.
The Commission also added Libya, Botswana, Ghana, Samoa, the Bahamas and the four United States territories of American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam.
Apart from reputational damage, inclusion on the list complicates financial relations with the EU with the bloc’s banks having to carry out additional checks on payments involving entities from listed jurisdictions.
The 28 EU states now have one month, which can be extended to two, to endorse the list. They could reject it by qualified majority.