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European Commission adopts new list of countries with AML/CTF deficiencies

On 13 February 2019 the European Commission adopted a new list of 23 countries with deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CTF) regimes. This newly published list replaces the list that has been in place since July 2018.

This new list is a product of the Commission’s own methodology, which it has developed to assess AML/CTF deficiencies specifically within the European Union's financial system. This methodology not only relies on information from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), but also includes expertise from the Commission and other sources such as Europol. The European Commission states that the resulting list is a ‘more ambitious approach for identifying countries with deficiencies posing risks to the EU financial system.

Banks and other entities that are required to submit to EU anti-money laundering regulations will now be required to increase their due diligence regarding financial operations and transactions with customers and financial institutions from these 23 countries. Currently the list is adopted as a Delegated Regulation and will be submitted to the European Parliament and Council for approval. Once approved, the Delegated Regulation will be published in the Official Journal and enter into force 20 days after its publication. Of the 23 countries identified to have deficiencies in their AML/CTF regimes, twelve of these countries have been previously identified by the FATF, while 11 countries are newly listed.

In response, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has issued a statement against this new list of countries with AML/CTF deficiencies identified by the European Commission. Not only does the Treasury Department disagree with the methodology used by the Commission, they also reject ‘the inclusion of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands on the list.

For more information please see the European Commission’s Fact Sheet regarding its new list of countries with AML/CTF deficiencies.

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