Saudis Downplay Presence on EU's Black List for Money Laundering

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia sought to downplay its inclusion in a European Commission black list of 23 countries that pose higher risks of money laundering and terrorist financing.

Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan, in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency, said the decision to include the kingdom isn’t final, and needs the approval of the European Parliament.

Central bank Governor Ahmed Alkholify, in an interview with Al Arabiya television, also stressed that the move was preliminary, adding that “limited” relationships between Saudi and European finance institutions would anyway cap its impact.

“It might, in the future, if the list becomes final and is applied by the European side, affect the timing of some transactions for some customers,” he said.

The commission on Wednesday said all regions listed should face stricter oversight to combat illicit financial flows. The U.S. Treasury said it has “significant concerns about the substance of the list and the flawed process by which it was developed.”

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