EU member states have unanimously rejected a proposal by the bloc’s executive commission to blacklist 23 countries and territories which could pose a high risk of money laundering or terrorist financing to the EU’s financial system.
The goal was to increase checks and investigations on financial transactions from those countries and territories to detect suspicious money flows.
In a statement on Thursday, the bloc’s members stressed that the proposal "was not established in a transparent and resilient process” and that the European Commission should set up a new list which could take the concerns of EU member states into consideration.
The document was earlier drafted by the European Commission, which specifically put four US territories — American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands — on the list, along with an array of mostly Asian and African nations, including North Korea, Libya and Yemen.
A 35-page report accompanying the draft list accused the four US territories of having lax tax legislation and a lack of legally binding control measures that would allow for the identification of the end beneficiaries of various financial transactions.
“Large portion of high-risk sectors […] are unregulated”, the report claimed, referring to particularly grave “strategic deficiencies” in the four US territories.
Shortly after, Washington stated that it vehemently rejects the European Commission conclusion and “does not expect” any US financial institutions to take this document into account in their policies and procedures.