News

Saudi Arabia escapes EU dirty money blacklist

Money_launderingThe European Union’s 28 member states have rejected a proposal to add Saudi Arabia to a blacklist of countries suspected of lax controls on money laundering and terrorist financing. The proposal, from the European Commission, was refused in a unanimous decision from member states because the list of countries was not established in a transparent process that gave the blacklisted countries a right to be heard and the opportunity to take action, according to the EU states. The provisional blacklist of 23 countries, including Libya and Saudi Arabia as well as four US territories, was published in February. Following the response from the EU states, a new list will be drawn up. The EU commissioner in charge of that process, Vera Jourova, said she was “disappointed” by the EU states’ decision but was determined to continue. “I hope I don’t look like somebody who is giving up,” she said. In an EU parliamentary hearing, the commissioner referred to the heavy lobbying that had followed the publication of the list, most notably from Saudi Arabia, Panama and the US. She also questioned the motivations of EU states for blocking the list but said she would consult with them before drawing up the next list. Reuters reported that, according to EU officials, Saudi King Salman had written to EU leaders calling on them to reverse the Commission’s proposal and threatened to cut contracts to purchase EU weapons and other goods. ©2019 funds global mena

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