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US Rejects EU Money Laundering List

US Rejects EU Money Laundering List

Thursday, 14 February, 2019 - 06:30
A general view of the Saudi capital Riyadh. (SPA)
Asharq Al-Awsat
The United States rejected on Wednesday the European Commission’s blacklisting of 23 countries, including Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Tunisia, over their lax controls over money laundering.

The US Department of the Treasury said that it has significant concerns about the substance of the list and the flawed process by which it was developed.

The Saudi government said it regretted the decision in a statement published by the Saudi Press Agency.

Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan was quoted in the report as saying Riyadh's "commitment to fighting money laundering and terrorism financing is a strategic priority".

"We will continue to develop and enhance our regulatory framework to achieve this goal," he said.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is the global standard-setting body for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation financing, it continued.

The FATF, which includes the US, the European Commission, 15 EU member states and 20 other jurisdictions, already develops a list of high-risk jurisdictions with Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terror deficiencies as part of a careful and comprehensive process. , continued the US Treasury.

Because of the FATF’s work, virtually all countries around the world are subject to a rigorous peer-review methodology that examines the legal frameworks to counter illicit finance as well as how effectively jurisdictions implement them.

These reviews are an intensive process involving careful review of the legal framework, extensive fact-gathering, and onsite visits in which assessors engage in robust, iterative dialogues with assessed jurisdictions.

The European Commission’s process for developing its list contrasts starkly with FATF’s thorough methodology because it did not include a sufficiently in-depth review, said the Treasury.

Britain, Germany, France and Italy have strongly objected to the European Commission’s list.

Britain said the list could “confuse businesses” because it diverges from a smaller listing compiled by its FATF.

The FATF was established 30 years ago and includes 38 members, including the European Union and Gulf Cooperation Council. Saudi Arabia became an observer member in 2015.

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