EU states could ‘block adoption of money laundering blacklist’

The adoption of a European Union money-laundering blacklist, which includes Saudi Arabia and four Unites States territories, could be blocked by EU governments under a procedure initiated on Thursday. (Reuters)
Updated 28 February 2019
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EU states could ‘block adoption of money laundering blacklist’

  • Some national envoys opposed the adoption of the list, triggering a process that could lead to the delay or withdrawal of the blacklist
  • Saudi authorities highlighted the efforts being made by the Kingdom to combat such crimes as a response to the decision to place the Kingdom on the blacklist

BRUSSELS: The adoption of a European Union money-laundering blacklist, which includes Saudi Arabia and four Unites States territories, could be blocked by EU governments under a procedure initiated on Thursday, two EU diplomats told Reuters.
At a meeting on Thursday, some national envoys opposed the adoption of the list, triggering a process that could lead to the delay or withdrawal of the blacklist, the diplomats said.

For the list to be blocked, a majority of 21 states is necessary. EU officials said that around 15 countries have already declared their opposition to the listing.
The list was first adopted by the European Commission on Feb 13 and lists 23 jurisdictions including Nigeria, Panama, Libya, the Bahamas and the four US territories of American Samoa, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam.

Saudi Arabia previously expressed its regret about the European Commission's decision to place the Kingdom on a blacklist of 23 non-EU countries and territories accused of posing a high risk of money laundering and financing terrorism. In response, Saudi authorities highlighted the efforts being made by the Kingdom to combat such crimes.
“The Kingdom finds it it regrettable that it was included in the proposed list of ‘high-risk’ countries for money laundering and terrorist financing that was issued by the European Commission on Feb. 13, 2019,” Saudi authorities said in a statement released by the Saudi Press Agency. “This comes despite the Kingdom’s ratification of many laws and procedures relating to combating money laundering and terrorist financing, to reduce the risks associated with such crimes.”
It added that the Kingdom reaffirms its strong commitment to the joint global efforts to combat money-laundering and the financing of terrorism, as part of which it works with international partners and allies.
“Saudi Arabia, who is a key partner in the international coalition against Daesh, has been leading a group, along with the United States and Italy, to fight the financing of the group,” the statement continued.


Death toll from Indonesia floods, mudslides rises to 89

This photo taken on March 7, 2019 shows residents walking along a flooded road in Dayeuhkolot village in Bandung, West Java province. (AFP)
Updated 16 min 41 sec ago
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Death toll from Indonesia floods, mudslides rises to 89

  • The lack of heavy equipment is hindering rescue efforts
  • Authorities are still looking for 74 missing residents

JAYAPURA, Indonesia: The death toll from flash floods and mudslides triggered by torrential downpours in Indonesia’s easternmost province has risen to 89, with dozens of others missing, officials said Tuesday.
Floodwaters and landslides destroyed roads and bridges in several areas of Papua province’s Jayapura district early Sunday, hampering rescue efforts.
National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the worst-hit area from the flooding was Sentani subdistrict, where tons of mud, rocks and trees from a landslide on a mountain rolled down to a river that burst its banks, sweeping away residents.
He said 89 bodies had been pulled from the mud and wreckage of crumpled homes by Tuesday. Another 159 people were injured, including 84 who were hospitalized, many with broken bones and head wounds.
The number of dead is expected to rise as rescue workers comb through affected areas.
More than 1,600 rescuers, including soldiers and police, faced difficulties on Tuesday in clearing huge piles of debris due to shortages of heavy equipment, said Papua military spokesman Col. Muhammad Aidi.
“We face difficulties removing debris and the bodies under rubble as we don’t have enough excavators,” Aidi said, adding that rescuers were searching for 74 people reportedly missing and feared dead.
Nugroho said about 7,000 residents were displaced from their homes, with more than 400 houses and other buildings damaged and thousands of others submerged.
Seasonal downpours cause frequent landslides and floods that kill dozens each year in Indonesia, a chain of 17,000 islands where millions of people live in mountainous areas or near fertile flood plains.