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Government must explain its opposition to money-laundering blacklist – Carthy

6 March, 2019 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has called on the Irish government to explain its position of opposing the EU Commission’s ‘blacklist’ of high-risk third countries with strategic deficiencies in its anti-money laundering framework under the revised Anti Money Laundering Directive, which will ensure that blacklisted jurisdictions are subject to tougher customer due diligence measures in their banks.


Carthy was speaking from Brussels following an exchange of views with Commissioner Vera Jourová in a hearing of the Economic and Monetary Affairs committee this week. 


The Midlands North-West MEP said: “I have been critical of this list in the past, and supported the Parliament in rejecting it and sending it back to the Commission for revision several times since 2016. This was on the basis that MEPs did not believe the list was sufficient as it did not include several jurisdictions that had clear deficiencies in their anti-money laundering regimes. 


“The development of this blacklist has been a long process, but I have welcomed the changes the Commission has made to the methodology of its screening process in selecting jurisdictions to be on the blacklist. The main change made by the Commission has been to base its assessment on its own independent information as opposed to solely basing it on the assessment of the Financial Action Task Force or OECD. 


“As a result, the list has expanded from 11 states in 2016 to 23 today, which now includes Saudi Arabia and several US jurisdictions. Media reports suggest that the inclusion of Saudi Arabia and US jurisdictions has motivated many of the member states to oppose the blacklist in the Council, based on their own narrow financial interests.


“Progressive MEPs may not think the list is perfect, but we view the Council’s objections as being politically motivated interference in a process that is supposed to be independent.


“The last thing we want to see is a repeat of the secretive and politicised process the member states have applied in forming the tax haven blacklist.


“I’m particularly concerned that the defence of Saudi Arabia by the British and other governments is a direct result of their close financial and trading ties, and of lobbying by the Saudi regime.


“The Irish government needs to explain why it has opposed this list in the Council, and reveal to what extent it has been lobbied by the US and other governments regarding this process.”

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