EU Includes American Territories In ‘Dirty Money’ Blacklist

The European Commission published a list of 23 countries with strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing frameworks on Wednesday. The US Treasury Department has condemned a new EU money laundering blacklist that includes four US territories, including Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, and the United States Virgin Islands, and 19 other jurisdictions.

“The US Department of the Treasury has significant concerns about the substance of the list and the flawed process by which it was developed”.

The Treasury Department further stated that American banks should ignore any suggestions from the European Commission to put transactions under greater scrutiny based on its newly-adopted list. The US then suggested that the EU’s list was irrelevant because a global body, the Financial Action Task Force, sets anti-money laundering standards, while the European version targeted more countries than FATF’s existing report.

Washington’s criticism of the decision and the methodology used by Brussels to include those regions on the list has added to a growing transatlantic rift, covering a wide range of issues: from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal to NATO defence spending and trade tariffs.

The US appeared to not be the only country to express frustration with the bloc’s decision: Panama, which is also on the list, called on the EU to clarify its move. The EU’s Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova defended the commission’s methodology, saying she was not “surprised” by the criticism:

“I am not surprised by some of the reactions but I do believe that the member states will express their full understanding for why we are doing this. It is a necessary thing to do”.

In documents published Wednesday, the European Commission emphasised that the four United States territories were added to the blacklist because they “are attractive for tax crimes and exposed to a higher threat of money laundering linked to tax crime”.


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