European Union governments unanimously rejected a list of foreign jurisdictions posing higher risks of money laundering, criticizing officials in Brussels for drawing up the document in a flawed manner.
The list was presented last month by the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, as a measure to protect the financial system from dirty-money risks stemming from outside the bloc. It ranked Saudi Arabia alongside Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa and Panama as jurisdictions posing increased risks of illicit finance. EU banks would have to apply tougher checks on transactions involving these regions.
EU member states “cannot support the current proposal that was not established in a transparent and resilient process,” according to a statementfrom the Council of the EU, which represents national governments. They called for a list “that meets our high standards and thereby further strengthens anti-money laundering and the combat against terrorist financing.”