Panama and Saudi Arabia included in 23-country list with serious money laundering and terrorism related risks

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The European Commission concluded that 23 countries have strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing regimes.

This includes 12 countries listed by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and 11 additional jurisdictions.

Some of the countries listed on February 13 are already on the current EU list, which includes 16 countries.

The 23 jurisdictions are: Afghanistan, American Samoa, The Bahamas, Botswana, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guam, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Puerto Rico, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, US Virgin Islands, and Yemen.

The European Union is open for business but cannot be naïve and needs to protect the EU financial system, Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Commissioner Věra Jourová said in Strasbourg on February 13 after the Commission adopted its new list of 23 countries with strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing frameworks.

“The EU should not be a destination of money laundering,” Jourová told a press conference. The latest legislation also includes bitcoin. Jourová stressed that this is no sanctions system but the EU needs to keep its financial system safe and sound.

According to the Commission, as a result of the listing, banks and other entities covered by EU anti-money laundering rules will be required to apply increased checks on financial operations involving customers and financial institutions from these high-risk third countries to better identify any suspicious money flows.

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