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The European Commission will overhaul its proposed anti-money laundering blacklist so that it secures the backing of EU member states, EU Justice Commissioner, Vera Jourova, said on Thursday.
In mid February, the EU commission had listed a number of countries, including Nigeria, Ghana, Saudi Arabia, Panama and others for not doing enough to check terrorism financing.
However, in a blow to the commission, member states were unanimous in formally rejecting on Thursday a draft proposal listing 23 states and jurisdictions for allegedly not doing enough to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
The proposal “was not established in a transparent and resilient process that actively incentivises affected countries to take decisive action while also respecting their right to be heard,” member states said.
Jourova said she was “disappointed,’’ but pledged the commission would go back to member states to address concrete concerns.
That effort will lead to a list “that will not be put into question,” she added.
The names on the contested list include Saudi Arabia, several U.S. territories, Panama, and conflict-ravaged states such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.
The commission is obliged to compile such a list under EU anti-money laundering rules adopted in recent years.
The proposal would require European financial institutions to apply extra checks to transactions involving customers and institutions from the listed territories.
But the draft list drew prompt rebukes, including from the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Panama.
Jourova and commission spokesman, Margaritis Schinas, both disputed the claim that the process was flawed and said member states had already been consulted on the proposal’s methodology.
The commission provided “the highest level of transparency” when it established the list, Schinas said. (NAN)