EU adds Saudi Arabia to draft list on terrorism financing


Al-Thawra Net

The European Union has added Saudi Arabia to a draft list of countries posing a threat to the bloc due to lax control of terrorist financing and money laundering, Two Reuters sources said on Friday.

The move comes amid mounting international pressure on Saudi Arabia following the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

The current list of the federation includes 16 countries, including Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and North Korea, and is based mainly on criteria used by the Malian Movement Task Force, an international body of wealthy nations based on combating money-laundering and the financing of terrorism.

However, the list was updated this week, using new standards that the European Commission has been developing since 2017. Saudi Arabia is one of the countries that has been added to the updated list, which is still classified, according to a source from the European Union and a Saudi source for Reuters.

The move is a setback for Riyadh as it seeks to enhance its international reputation to encourage foreign investors to participate in a huge transformation plan and improve the financial relations of its banks.

Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post and a critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed and dismembered by Saudi agents at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul on October 2, which provoked widespread condemnation and damage to the image of the kingdom.

Apart from the damage to its reputation, the inclusion of the kingdom in the list complicates financial relations with the European Union. Cartel banks will need to conduct additional checks on payments involving entities from listed countries.