Reuters quoted two well-informed sources as saying the EU had listed Saudi Arabia as a list of countries that pose a threat to it due to loosening of control over the financing of terrorism and money laundering.
The EU list initially included 16 countries including Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and North Korea.
The document is based primarily on the criteria used by the FATF, the international body to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, which does not include Saudi Arabia.
This week, however, the EU Commission updated the list based on new benchmarks set by 2017 to include the draft Saudi document, one of the countries still classified as confidential; Reuters quoted an EU source as saying.
Reuters said in a report that the move comes amid growing international pressure on Saudi Arabia over the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, known for his criticism of the leadership of the Kingdom, which moved to the United States after the accession of Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Covenant in the country and wrote articles to the newspaper, at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 2, 2018, by a special team from his country, in an incident that has caused widespread international repercussions.
Reuters described the development as a failure for Saudi Arabia, which is now making great efforts to improve its international reputation and encourage foreign investors to participate in the country’s massive reform plan led by the crown prince.
The inclusion of Saudi Arabia in this list would not only harm its international positions, but would also further complicate its financial relations with the European Union, whose banks were expected to conduct additional checks for fund transfers with the participation of the Organization from the States in the document.
The adoption of this list needs the initial approval of the 28 members of the European Union before it is formally approved next week.
Another EU official said other countries were likely to be added to the final list, but declined to give details because the information was still confidential and subject to change.
For his part, a spokesman for the European Commission said he could not comment on the content of the list because it had not yet been finalized.
States are being included in the list, as in their previous version, in the event of “strategic gaps in their anti-money laundering regimes and countering the financing of terrorist entities that pose significant threats to the financial system of the Union”.
According to the new approach, countries could also be blacklisted if insufficient information on corporate ownership was provided or if their rules on suspicious transaction reporting or financial client control were considered too lenient.