07 Feb 2018
European Union lawmakers on Wednesday voted in favour of including Tunisia onto the bloc’s list of third countries considered at high risk of money laundering and terrorism financing. Sri Lanka and Trinidad and Tobago were also added to the blacklist.
After Wednesday’s decision, Parliament may meet to discuss the EU money laundering blacklist again when the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) next updates its own money laundering/terrorism financing blacklist, a Parliament spokesman told KYC360.
Parliament will continue using the FATF list methodology to decide which countries should be discussed for blacklisting until later this year, when it will start using its new methodology agreed with the European Commission (EC).
At present there are no plans to change the methodology for the EU money laundering/terrorism financing grey list, however, the spokesman explained.
The present grey list will continue to enlist the same countries FATF has on its list.
The inclusion of Tunisia on the blacklist was a hot topic in Parliament, with MEPs who tabled the motion focusing their opposition to the inclusion of Tunisia.
“They believe the addition of the North African country is undeserved; that it is a burgeoning democracy in need of support and that the listing fails to recognise the recent steps it has taken to strengthen its financial system against criminal activity,” said an EU Parliament statement, “the other two countries were included in the same delegated act.”
The results showed 357 voted in support of the motion, to 283 votes against, and 26 abstentions, reflecting the split in Parliament over the issue.
Overall, those voting for, failed to achieve the 376-vote absolute majority needed to reject the inclusion.
As part of the EU’s Anti-Money Laundering Directive, the EC drafts a list of “high-risk third countries,” but Parliament has veto power over the list.
For several months, the EC and Parliament disagreed over the list.
“MEPs rejected two previous versions, after disagreements over the methodology used by the Commission for compiling the list. Since then, the two bodies have agreed on a new methodology, which will be introduced from the end of this year, for adding and removing countries,” the Parliament statement explained.
“In mid-December, in line with its custom of following the lead of the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the Commission decided to include Tunisia and the other two states to its blacklist, sparking the present controversy.”
On Monday, the Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Vera Jourová, declined some MEPs’ requests to delist Tunisia immediately.
– By Irene Madongo
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