MEPs reject incomplete anti money laundering blacklist for third time

The European Parliament has again rejected a proposed list of countries at risk of money laundering, financing terrorism or promoting tax evasion as being too narrow in scope, with MEPs calling for the EU to have an independent, autonomous process for judging whether countries pose a threat of financial criminality

Under the EU’s anti-money laundering directive, the European Commission is responsible for producing an inventory of countries thought to be at risk of money laundering, tax evasion and terrorism financing. People and legal entities from blacklisted countries face tougher than usual checks when doing business in the EU.

Currently, the Commission relies heavily on the international body, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in drawing up its list.

Earlier this year, Parliament vetoed a similar list drawn up by the Commission, of countries thought to be at risk of money laundering, and the latest resolution was defeated by 392 votes to 80, with 207 abstentions. 

This followed on from a committee vote earlier this month, when MEPs from the economic and monetary affairs committee and the civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee said ‘the Commission’s process was not sufficiently autonomous’ and that the criteria for its list excluded offences giving rise to money laundering, such as tax crimes.

The list of non-EU countries judged by the Commission to have strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism regimes are: Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Guyana, Iraq. Lao PDR, Syria, Uganda, Vanuatu, Yemen, Iran, and Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

The European Commission proposes amending the list by adding Ethiopia and removing Guyana.

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