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MEPs again reject blacklist of states at risk of money laundering

MEPs again reject blacklist of states at risk of money laundering

Photo © Maksym Yemelyanov - Fotolia

(BRUSSELS) - The EU should have an autonomous process for judging whether countries are at high risk of money laundering, MEPs said after again rejecting in committee a country blacklist drawn up by the Commission.

The European Commission is responsible for producing, under the EU's Anti-Money Laundering Directive, an inventory of countries thought to be at risk of money laundering, tax evasion and terrorism financing. People and legal entities from blacklisted countries face tougher than usual checks when doing business in the EU.

An earlier list, which was drawn up last year -- a duplicate of one produced by the international body, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) -- has already been once rejected as too limited by the Parliament.

In Wednesday's resolution, MEPs from the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee and the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee said "the Commission's process was not sufficiently autonomous" and that the criteria for its list excluded offences giving rise to money laundering, such as tax crimes.

MEPs say the Commission should not be bound by FATF standards when drawing up its own blacklist, which they want to be more expansive and wide-ranging. The Commission says this would require more resources than it has.

The Commission currently identifies eleven countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Syria, which it judges to be deficient in countering money laundering and terrorist financing. This second update makes a minor change to the previous list by dropping Guyana and adding Ethiopia.

The resolution now goes to the Parliament's full house. The delegated act will be rejected if it is supported by more than half of the constituent members of Parliament.

Further information, European Parliament

Procedure file

Money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion: Research papers and a video (April 2017)

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