Sven Giegold

EU Commission adopts new blacklist: Real progress in the fight against money laundering

The EU Commission today presented a new blacklist of 23 high-risk countries for money laundering and terrorist financing. To date, the EU list has only included twelve countries that are already on the list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international anti-money laundering organisation founded in 1989. This is the first time that the EU has gone further in the fight against money laundering than the difficult compromises in the FATF. The EU Parliament, above all the Greens, had repeatedly called on the Commission to carry out its own assessment of third countries. The EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive gives the Commission the mandate to do this.

Banks and companies in the EU must monitor their business partners in high-risk countries much more intensively. In addition, the countries concerned must make considerable efforts to prove their financial cleanliness and thus be removed from the list again.


The spokesperson for Bündnis 90/Die Grünen in the European Parliament, Sven Giegold, said:

“The list is a sharp sword against money laundering. This is real progress in the fight against dirty money. Money laundering poses an enormous threat to our security, it promotes corruption and crime in Europe. The EU Commission has now presented a significantly improved list, which also includes Panama, Saudi Arabia and the US Virgin Islands. The EU Commission has withstood the enormous pressure of lobbying from some governments and presented a list twice as long. The list is long, but not yet complete. Some of the biggest dirty money washing machines are still missing. These include Russia, the City of London and its offshore territories as well as Azerbaijan.

The Commission should publish the country assessments that resulted in the list of 23 countries in order to provide transparency around the process and to avoid accusations of political horse-trading. The Commission has evaluated third countries according to objective criteria, so there is no reason not to publish the assessments behind the list.

We must not be afraid to raise the issue of money laundering within Europe. We have seen huge scandals involving money laundering inside the EU, in countries such as Denmark, Malta and Cyprus. That’s why the European Commission should accelerate its infringement procedures with EU Member States and ensure that European rules against money laundering are fully implemented in all Member States. All EU countries must ensure that the new rules in the 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive are put in place without delay.”


EU List of third countries with high money laundering risks (countries that are listed by FATF are marked separately)

High-risk third countries


(1) Afghanistan,

(2) American Samoa,

(3) The Bahamas, (FATF)

(4) Botswana, (FATF)

(5) Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, (FATF)

(6) Ethiopia, (FATF)

(7) Ghana, (FATF)

(8) Guam,

(9) Iran, (FATF)

(10) Iraq,

(11) Libya,

(12) Nigeria,

(13) Panama,

(14) Pakistan, (FATF)

(15) Puerto Rico,

(16) Samoa,

(17) Saudi Arabia,

(18) Sri Lanka, (FATF)

(19) Syria, (FATF)

(20) Trinidad and Tobago, (FATF)

(21) Tunisia, (FATF)

(22) US Virgin Islands,

(23) Yemen. (FATF)

Serbien is listed by FATF but not included in the new EU List:


EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive’s obligation of the EU Commission to draw up an EU list of high-risk third countries

Article 9 of the EU-Anti Money Laundering Directive

  1. Third-country jurisdictions which have strategic deficiencies in their national AML/CFT regimes that pose significant threats to the financial system of the Union (‘high-risk third countries’) shall be identified in order to protect the proper functioning of the internal market.
  2. The Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 64 in order to identify high-risk third countries, taking into account strategic deficiencies in particular in the following areas:

(a) the legal and institutional AML/CFT framework of the third country, in particular:

(i) the criminalisation of money laundering and terrorist financing;

(ii) measures relating to customer due diligence;

(iii) requirements relating to record-keeping;

(iv) requirements to report suspicious transactions;

(v) the availability of accurate and timely information of the beneficial ownership of legal persons and arrangements to competent authorities;

(b) the powers and procedures of the third country’s competent authorities for the purposes of combating money laundering and terrorist financing including appropriately effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions, as well as the third country’s practice in cooperation and exchange of information with Member States’ competent authorities;

(c) the effectiveness of the third country’s AML/CFT system in addressing money laundering or terrorist financing risks.

  1. The delegated acts referred to in paragraph 2 shall be adopted within one month after the identification of the strategic deficiencies referred to in that paragraph.
  2. The Commission, when drawing up the delegated acts referred to in paragraph 2, shall take into account relevant evaluations, assessments or reports drawn up by international organisations and standard setters with competence in the field of preventing money laundering and combating terrorist financing.
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