US voices ‘significant concerns’ over new EU money laundering blacklist

The US Treasury said on Wednesday it had "significant concerns" about the substance of a European Union Commission proposal to put 23 non-EU countries and terrirorities on a money laundering and terrorist financing blacklist. (AFP)
Updated 13 February 2019
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US voices ‘significant concerns’ over new EU money laundering blacklist

  • US financial institutions will "not take into account" list, which includes Saudi Arabia
  • The list must be approved by the European Parliament and EU members

BRUSSELS: The US Treasury said on Wednesday it had "significant concerns" about the substance of a European Union Commission proposal to put 23 non-EU countries and terrirorities on a money laundering and terrorist financing blacklist.

The list of countries, which includes Saudi Arabia, was released on Tuesday and names states the EU Commission believes to pose a high risk when it comes to money laundering or funding terrorist activities.

A US Treasury statement said that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is the global standard-setting body for combating money laundering, terrorist financing, and proliferation financing.

The statement said the FATF, which includes the US, the European Commission, 15 EU member states, and 20 other jurisdictions, already develops a list of high-risk countries as part of a careful and comprehensive process.

The US treasury said the EU commission had not given the countries concerned sufficient time to discuss regulations, adding that it did not expect the US financial institutions to take the EU list into account in their policies and procedures.

EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova said on Wednesday that the list, which also named countries like North Korea and Nigeria, will be used to increase checks and investigations on financial operations to find any "suspicious money flows."

Jourova said that "we have to make sure that dirty money from other countries does not find its way to our financial system." She said that "Europe cannot be a laundromat for dirty money."

The European Parliament and the member states must now approve the list over the next weeks.


Top French court rejects Syria-based French militants’ repatriation demands

Updated 23 April 2019
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Top French court rejects Syria-based French militants’ repatriation demands

  • Western nations have been wrestling with how to handle suspected militants

PARIS: France’s top administrative court on Tuesday rejected demands by Syria-based French women to be repatriated back to France, arguing that a judge could not rule on the issue given it involved negotiations with foreign authorities.
“The Council of State (Conseil d’Etat) rejects the demands for repatriation made by French nationals and for their children, currently in Syria,” said the court in a statement.
Western nations have been wrestling with how to handle suspected militants and their families seeking to return from combat zones in Iraq and Syria, as well as those in detention.
In February, France said it would not for now act on US President Donald Trump’s call for European allies to repatriate hundreds of Islamic State fighters from Syria, adding it would take back militants on a “case-by-case” basis.