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Tunisia and others added to EU money laundering blacklist

Monday, 12 February, 2018

The European Parliament has approved the addition of Tunisia, Sri Lanka, and Trinidad and Tobago to the European Commission's blacklist of third countries thought to be at high risk of money laundering.

The money laundering blacklist is a product of the EU's Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive, which requires the Commission to identify jurisdictions that are subject to sanctions, to protect the EU's financial system against money laundering and terrorist financing.

However, the list has been a source of disagreement between the European Commission and Parliament, which has a veto on the final form of the list. MEPs have rejected two previous versions, after disagreements over the methodology used for compiling it, but have since agreed on a new methodology, which will be introduced from the end of this year.

Nevertheless, MEPs were split on placing Tunisia on the list, with 283 of the 666 MEPs objecting to its inclusion. They consider Tunisia to be a burgeoning democracy in need of support, and that its blacklisting is undeserved as it fails to recognise the recent steps the country has taken to strengthen its financial system against criminal activity.

However, the Commission's view, which is based on the recommendations of the international Financial Action Task Force, has now prevailed. EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourová told MEPs that the Commission would reassess the country's progress 'as early as possible' this year.

The list is separate from the blacklist of countries regarded as non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes.