EU Commission added Saudi Arabia to a draft list of countries that pose a threat to the bloc because of lax controls against terrorism financing and money laundering, Reuters reported.
The European Commission added Saudi Arabia to draft list of countries considered by the EU a threat due to terror financing and money laundering, Reuters reported on Friday citing two sources.The EU’s current list, which is made up of 16 countries, including Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and North Korea, was updated this week but remains confidential, Reuters said citing an EU and a Saudi source.
The former list was based on the criteria set out by the Financial Action Task Force [FATF] – body developed to combat money laundering and terrorism financing. The updated list follows new criteria developed by the EU Commission in 2017.
Countries are blacklisted if they “have strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism regimes that pose significant threats to the financial system of the Union,” the existing EU list said.
The move is considered a setback for Riyadh, which is still reeling from damaged image following the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor, was murdered on October 2 in Turkey in what Saudi Arabia called a “rogue” operation, tipping the kingdom into one of its worst diplomatic crises.
Inclusion of Saudi Arabia on the list will cause further damage to the kingdom’s reputation as well as complicate financial relations with EU states.
The final list will need to be backed by 28 EU states to formally be adopted next week.