The governments of the EU member states have ‘unanimously’ rejected a blacklist of countries that have failed to tackle money laundering and terrorism financing. The paper cited four US territories and was slammed by Washington.
The Council of the European Union has “unanimously decided to reject” the list of “high-risk third countries”, a document that would require banks and financial institutions operating in Europe to “be more vigilant and to carry out extra checks in the context of transactions” involving these nations.
The document in question was drafted by the European Commission and was supposed to identify the nations that “have strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regimes,” which could thus pose “significant threats” to the bloc’s financial system.
Surprisingly, as many as four US territories – American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands – found themselves on the list.
They were put there alongside about two dozen, mostly Asian and African nations, including those suffering from acute political and economic turmoil as well as armed conflicts, such as Syria, Yemen or Libya.
Washington stated that it flat-out rejects the conclusions of the European Commission and “does not expect” any US financial institutions to take this document into account in their policies and procedures.
In a bizarre coincidence, weeks later, the Council of the European Union, which consists of the ministers representing all 28 EU members, justified its decision to reject the document with the arguments that seemed strikingly similar to those employed by the US Treasury.
In a separate development, the Council had also previously dismissed the Commission’s proposal to place Saudi Arabia on the ‘blacklist’, claiming that deficiencies within Riyadh’s anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regime were “not established in a transparent and credible process.
The decision to remove Washington’s major Middle Eastern ally from the list also came after the Saudis explicitly voiced their opposition to the move, arguing that it could “create difficulties in trade and investment flows between the Kingdom and the European Union.”
RT. com / AB Canada Flash Point News 2019.