EU blacklists Nigeria, Panama and Saudi Arabia over dirty-money

The move has triggered criticism from several EU states worried about their economic relations with the listed states
A man walks past Western Union money transfer and Moneygram in a branch of bank where beneficiaries collect money in foreign currencies repatrated by sex workers from Europe in Benin City, capital of Edo State, southern Nigeria, on March 29, 2017. – In Benin City, Nigeria’s capital of illegal immigration, no-one says the word “prostitution”. The word on the street for the young girls who leave for Italy or France is “hustling”. Nearly 37,500 Nigerians arrived in Italy by boat last year — more than any other African country — and most of them were from the southern Benin city, which is the capital of Edo state. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

The European Commission has added Saudi Arabia, Panama, and Nigeria to a blacklist of nations that pose a threat because of lax controls on terrorism financing and money laundering, an EU executive said on Wednesday.

The move has triggered criticism from several EU states worried about their economic relations with the listed states, notably Saudi Arabia.

Despite pressure to exclude Riyadh from the list, the commission decided to list the kingdom, confirming a Reuters report in January.

The list now includes 23 jurisdictions; it previously comprised 16.

The Commission also added Libya, Botswana, Ghana, Samoa, the Bahamas and the four United States territories of American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam.

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The other listed states are Afghanistan, North Korea, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and Yemen.

Bosnia Herzegovina, Guyana, Laos, Uganda and Vanuatu were removed.

Apart from reputational damage, inclusion on the list complicates financial relations with the EU. The bloc’s banks will have to carry out additional checks on payments involving entities from listed jurisdictions.

The 28 EU states now have one month, which can be extended to two, to endorse the list. They could reject it by qualified majority. EU justice commissioner Vera Jourova, who proposed the list, told a news conference she was confident states would not block the list.

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