EU states are said to object to dirty-money list after US outrage

Bloomberg Brussels | Updated on March 01, 2019 Published on March 01, 2019

A planned European Union list that identifies foreign jurisdictions with insufficient controls against illicit financial flows is being held up by the bloc’s national governments, said three officials familiar with the matter.

All but one of the EU’s 28 member states oppose the list and have raised a number of objections, said the officials, who asked not to be identified because the decision isn’t public. Proposed by the EU’s executive arm, the list includes Puerto Rico, Guam and other US territories, as well as Saudi Arabia. The next steps are scheduled to be discussed at a meeting on Friday in Brussels, the officials said.

The list drew sharp criticism from the US Treasury when it was presented on February 13. Treasury said it had significant concerns about both the substance and the flawed process with which the list had been drawn up. Panama, which was also included, described the move as unfair punishment.

It was the first time the European Commission had drawn up a list based on its own methodology, targeting more countries than an existing version from the Financial Action Task Force, a global watchdog. A country is added if strategic deficiencies in its anti-money laundering framework are identified, and it raises the regulatory hurdles for European banks doing business with clients in those jurisdictions.

A spokeswoman for the Romanian government, which holds the EUs rotating presidency, declined to comment.

Published on March 01, 2019
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