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

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.


US coronavirus death toll tops 100,000

Updated 32 min 14 sec ago

US coronavirus death toll tops 100,000

  • Nearly 1.7 million infections have been tallied nationwide

WASHINGTON:: The United States has now recorded more than 100,000 coronavirus-related deaths, Johns Hopkins University reported Wednesday — a somber milestone and by far the highest total in the world.
The country reported its first death about three months ago. Since then, nearly 1.7 million infections have been tallied nationwide, according to the Baltimore-based school.
The actual number of deaths and infections is believed to be higher, experts say.
In the last 24 hours, the death toll was on the rise once again, with 1,401 deaths added, after three straight days of tolls under 700. The full death toll stood at 100,396.
The state of New York has seen nearly a third of all coronavirus-related deaths in the United States, where President Donald Trump ordered that flags fly at half-staff last weekend to honor the victims.
The first US virus death was reported on February 26, though officials now say they believe that others may have died of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, before that.
The country passed the 50,000-death threshold barely more than a month ago.
The number of deaths per capita in the United States is nevertheless lower than in several European countries, including Britain, Belgium, France, Italy and Spain.
Despite the grim toll, most US states are now moving toward ending the strict stay-at-home measures that were implemented to curb the spread of the virus.
President Donald Trump, who is running for reelection in November, is eager to stem the economic pain of the lockdown, which has left tens of millions of Americans without jobs.