The European Commission, a branch of the EU, opted to add Saudi Arabia to its list of nations posing as a threat because of lax controls on terrorism financing and money laundering. The Middle Eastern country was joined on the EU’s list by Panama, Nigeria and four US territories in a new report. Reacting to the report, Saudi finance minister Mohammed al-Jadaan said in a statement published by Channel News Asia: “Saudi Arabia’s commitment to combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism is a strategic priority and we will continue to develop and improve our regulatory and legislative frameworks to achieve this goal.”
Saudi Press Agency added: “Saudi Arabia notes with regret the European Commission proposed a revised list of ‘high risk’ countries.”
The report said that the country’s capital Riyadh is also being considered for the blacklist “despite several measures of reinforcement of its legal framework which has led to increased cooperation with its counterparts”.
The new listing has seen several EU countries raise concerns about their economic relations with states such as Saudi Arabia.
Previously there were 16 jurisdictions listed but it has now been raised to 23.
READ MORE: Brexiteer sends warning to May over £39 billion GIVEAWAY
The Commission also added Libya, Botswana, Ghana, Samoa, the Bahamas and the four United States territories of American Samoa, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam.
The original listed states are Afghanistan, North Korea, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and Yemen.
Removed from the list were Bosnia Herzegovina, Guyana, Laos, Uganda and Vanuatu.
Being included on the list causes financial problems with countries in the EU.
EU banks are forced to carry out additional checks on payments from countries and locations on the list.
From here, the EU has one month to endorse the list.
Should the need it, this can be extended by a further one.
According to Channel News Asia, Vera Jourova, the EU justice commissioner who proposed the list, told a news conference she was confident the list would not be blocked.