Saudi Arabia has worked to combat money laundering and terrorist financing for decades, the Kingdom’s EU envoy Saad bin Mohammed Al-Arifi said Thursday. He added that all European Union states were surprised by the blacklist of countries suspected of being lax on terrorist financing and money laundering. Al-Arifi’s comments come after the 28 member states of the European Union all backed a decision on Thursday to reject a proposal from the EU executive to add Saudi Arabia to the list.
EU states said in a statement the unanimous decision was taken because the European Commission’s proposed list was not established in a transparent process that encouraged countries to take action while also respected their right to be heard. The decision will force the European Commission to prepare a new list.
I’m disappointed, but I hope I don’t look like somebody who is giving up, the EU commissioner in charge of the listing, Vera Jourova, said on Thursday. The process had been conducted in a transparent manner and followed EU states’ commitments to act against money laundering and terrorism financing, she said. The Commission had published last month a provisional blacklist with 23 jurisdictions, including the four US territories of American Samoa, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam, in a move that Washington said was flawed. Among other listed countries were Nigeria, Panama, Libya, the Bahamas, Iran, North Korea and Afghanistan.