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.


Wanted Sri Lanka radical Hashim killed in hotel attack

Updated 1 min 32 sec ago
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Wanted Sri Lanka radical Hashim killed in hotel attack

  • Hashim appeared in a video released by the Daesh group after they claimed the bombings
  • The Sri Lankan police chief resigned from his post

COLOMBO: An extremist believed to have played a key role in Sri Lanka’s deadly Easter bombings died in an attack on a Colombo hotel, the country’s president confirmed Friday.
“What intelligence agencies have told me is that Zahran was killed during the Shangri-La attack,” President Maithripala Sirisena told reporters, referring to Zahran Hashim, leader of a local extremist group.
Hashim appeared in a video released by the Daesh group after they claimed the bombings, but his whereabouts after the blasts was not immediately clear.
Sirisena did not immediately clarify what Hashim’s role was in the attack on the Shangri-La, one of six bomb blasts that killed over 250 people on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Sirisena also said police are looking for 140 people believed to have links with the Daesh group over the attacks.
Sirisena told reporters some Sri Lankan youths had been involved with the extremist group since 2013, and that top defense and police chiefs had not shared information with him about the impending attacks.
He also blamed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government for weakening the intelligence system by focusing on the prosecution of military officers over alleged war crimes during a decade-long civil war with Tamil separatists.