The European Commission has adopted a new list of 23 countries with strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering (AML) and counter financing of terrorism (CFT) frameworks.

The list has been issued in the wake of EU concerns about a string of major AML/CFT breaches by European banks, some of which have received hefty fines.

Financial security

The aim of the list is to protect the EU financial system by better preventing money laundering and terrorist financing risks.

As a result of the listing, banks and other entities covered by EU AML/CFT rules will be required to apply increased due diligence checks on financial operations involving customers and financial institutions from these high-risk third countries to better identify any suspicious money flows.

The list reflects the stricter criteria of the EU’s 5th anti-money laundering directive in force since July 2018.

No sanctions

Inclusion on the list does not entail any type of sanctions, restrictions on trade relations or impediment to development aid. But it does require banks and obliged entities to apply enhanced vigilance measures on transactions involving these countries.

The 23 jurisdictions are Afghanistan, American Samoa, Bahamas, Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guam, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Panama, Puerto Rico, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, US Virgin Islands and Yemen.