Anti-money laundering blacklist rejected: Left success

In the context of the implementation of the EU’s 4th anti-money laundering directive (AMLD), the European Commission in December presented an updated list of high-risk third countries. Banks and other operators have to apply higher scrutiny and transparency standards when dealing with those countries because of the risks they pose regarding money laundering and terrorist financing. The Commission proposed to remove Guyana from the list and to add no new country*.

GUE/NGL tabled a motion to reject this list which was adopted by the ECON and LIBE committees in December and today carried in the EP plenary.

Fabio De Masi, GUE/NGL vice president of the Panama Papers Committee of Inquiry and shadow rapporteur for the negotiation of the current revision of the anti-money laundering directive comments after the vote:

“The European Commission has not done its homework despite repeated warnings by the Parliament. They failed to fulfil their obligation under existing law by producing an entirely insufficient blacklist. I am happy to see the Parliament follow our request and send the Commission back to their desk. We need to get serious in our work against money laundering, tax crime and terrorist financing.”

He goes on saying: “We will shortly be releasing a detailed testimony of the shocking state of anti-money laundering practices in places like Bahamas. All the PANA Committee hearings have so far come to the same conclusion. Be it Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, or the journalists behind the leaks, or member state administrations fighting financial crime: everyone has demanded effective measures against secrecy havens.

These places allow the super rich, companies and criminals to steal from the public and hide their wealth, and they shield money that funds global terrorism.”

De Masi concludes: “This is an important signal, but we should not forget the still gaping loopholes in the anti-money laundering legislation. GUE has proposed comprehensive amendments to plug those, achieve real transparency of letterbox companies and deter banks and law firms like Mossack Fonseca from aiding tax crimes and money laundering through severe fines and licence withdrawal in repeated cases.”

*Countries previously on the list were: Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Guyana, Iraq, Lao PDR, Syria, Uganda, Vanuatu, Yemen