Saudi Arabia, Panama and the U.S. Virgin Islands were included on a blacklist by European Union regulators seeking to stem the risks of money-laundering and terrorist financing.
The European Commission on Wednesday identified 23 countries as posing a higher risk for illicit financial flows, adding regulatory hurdles for European banks dealing with clients from countries in these nations. The new regulation will be submitted to the bloc’s national governments and the EU Parliament for approval, before it goes into effect.
“We have established the strongest anti-money laundering standards in the world, but we have to make sure that dirty money from other countries does not find its way to our financial system,” EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova said in a statement. “Dirty money is the lifeblood of organized crime and terrorism.”
The EU move follows a string of money-laundering cases involving some of the bloc’s biggest banks, highlighting shortcomings in the EU’s framework. Danske Bank A/S is at the heart of a dirty money scandal involving suspicious funds that flowed from Russia and elsewhere through its Estonian unit. Russia isn’t included on the list.