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Saudi Arabia added to EU’s draft terror funding list

Saudi Arabia has been listed on the European Union (EU) draft list of countries that are a threat to the bloc due to terror funding and money laundering. The European Commission threw caution to the wind, citing Saudi Arabia’s intolerable handling of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Currently, the EU’s list comprises of 16 countries, including Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and North Korea. These countries are mostly outcasted on criteria aligned to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global entity of wealthy nations, aimed at curbing money laundering and terror funding through back channels.

The list was updated recently, as per the new criteria of EU Commission since 2017. Saudi Arabia is among the other countries added to the modified list, which is still confidential, Reuters reported.

Riyadh has been disconcerted by the move, as it is endeavoring to whitewash its international reputation, in order to attract foreign investors to funds its huge transformation plan.

Hideous events like murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, imprisonment and torture of peaceful human right activists, waging deadly war on Yemen and funding terror group al-qaeda have invoked worldwide revulsion and harmed the Kingdom’s reputation.

This, however, is a provisional decision that will need the endorsement of at least 28 EU states before being formally implemented in the coming week.

According to an undisclosed EU official, other countries will probably be added to the final list. He did not elaborate as the details are highly confidential and subject to modifications.

Countries are outcasted if they “have strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism regimes that pose significant threats to the financial system of the Union,” the current EU list states.

Saudi Arabia could not attain full FATF membership in September as it fell short on fighting money laundering and terror funding.

In September, FATF said that Saudi Arabia was not effectively probing and prosecuting the offenders of large-scale money laundering, or confiscating the channels of crime within the country and abroad.

The EU has evaluated over 47 jurisdictions, including the United States, Russia and Switzerland, before modifying its list. However, the EU countries were not included in the screening.

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