FIN.

Commission updates advice on high-risk countries

The Commission has published a fact sheet on its new list of high-risk third countries for the purposes of MLD4.  The new list contains 12 jurisdictions from the FATF list: the Bahamas, Botswana, North Korea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Iran, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and the Yemen, and 11 additional jurisdictions: Afghanistan, American Samoa, Guam, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, Panama, Puerto Rico, Samoa, Saudi Arabia and the US Virgin Islands.  On the other hand, it has delisted Bosnia-Herzegovina, Guyana, Lao PDR, Uganda and Vanuatu.

The Commission comments that MLD5 has strengthened the criteria against which it must carry out its assessment, and this has caused the Commission to create a new methodology.  This involves a scoping phase that excludes from scope countries with a very low integration with the EU financial system and which are not exposed to money laundering or terrorist financing links. This left 132 jurisdictions. It then identified 54 “priority 1 countries” for listing, including those exposed to high levels of threat as identified by Europol, non-cooperative tax jurisdictions and FATF problem countries. It assessed these 54 countries and ended up with 23 with strategic deficiencies against defined criteria, and these are the ones now listed.  It will gradually assess the rest of the 54.

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Emma Radmore