As first reported by Reuters on May 5th and confirmed during an official press conference by Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis on May 7th, the European Commission’s money-laundering blacklist has been expanded to include a series of additional countries. The purpose of the blacklist is to identify and flag jurisdictions that may pose a financial risk to the bloc’s member states due to anti-money laundering and terrorism financing shortfalls.

The below countries were added to the revised EU listing taking into account the assessment by FATF and additional criteria under the European AML directives:

  1. Bahamas
  2. Barbados
  3. Botswana
  4. Cambodia
  5. Ghana
  6. Jamaica
  7. Mauritius
  8. Mongolia
  9. Myanmar
  10. Nicaragua
  11. Panama
  12. Zimbabwe

The above 12 countries will be added to the existing list, currently comprising Afghanistan, Iraq, Vanuatu, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, Uganda, Trinidad and Tobago, Iran and North Korea.

During the May 7th press conference, Vice-President Dombrovskis also announced that six countries had been removed from the blacklist due to their recent progress in reforming their systems to better prevent and punish money-laundering in their jurisdictions. These are Bosnia-Herzegovina, Guyana, Lao, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka and Tunisia.

Under EU law, banks and other financial and tax firms are obliged to scrutinise more closely their clients who have dealings with countries on the list. The new blacklist comes after attempts to introduce a similar list came to a diplomatic halt in early 2019. As reported by the FT, in August last year Bruseels announced its intention to unveil a revamped methodology to identify risky overseas jurisdictions; the new document is part of such efforts.

The proposed new blacklist is set to take effect across the bloc from October 2020.

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