EU blacklists Zimbabwe, tightens screws on money laundering

The European Commission (EC) has included Zimbabwe to the list of high-risk countries prone to money laundering and terrorist financing, a document seen by CITE has shown.

The EC is the executive branch of the 27-member European Union (EU), responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the EU treaties and managing the day-to-day business of the EU.

“Under the Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD), the Commission has a legal obligation to identify high-risk third countries with strategic deficiencies in their regime regarding anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing,” said the EC.

“Pending the application of the above-mentioned refined methodology, the Commission has today revised its list, taking into account developments at international level since 2018. The new list is now better aligned with the lists published by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).”

Zimbabwe has been listed together with Botswana, Mauritius, Ghana,

The Bahamas, Barbados, Cambodia, Jamaica, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nicaragua and Panama.

Under EU law, banks and other financial and tax firms are compelled to scrutinise more closely their clients who have dealings with countries on the list, a development likely to affect the bloc’s funding to the blacklisted countries.

The EC, according to the document, amended the list, which will now be submitted to the European Parliament and Council for approval within one month, with a possible one-month extension.

“Given the Coronavirus crisis, the date of application of today’s Regulation listing third countries – and therefore applying new protective measures – only applies as of 1 October 2020,” said the EC.

“This is to ensure that all stakeholders have time to prepare appropriately.”

The Commission has published an ambitious and multifaceted action plan which seeks to better enforce, supervise and coordinate the EU’s rules on combating money laundering and terrorist financing.

“We need to put an end to dirty money infiltrating our financial system,” EC executive vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis said.

“Today we are further bolstering our defences to fight money laundering and terrorist financing, with a comprehensive and far-reaching action plan. There should be no weak links in our rules and their implementation. We are committed to delivering on all these actions – swiftly and consistently – over the next 12 months. We are also strengthening the EU’s global role in terms of shaping international standards on fighting money laundering and terrorism financing.”

Meanwhile, the EC has delisted Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ethiopia, Guyana, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Sri Lanka and Tunisia and this will take effect 20 days after publication in the Official Journal.

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