BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The adoption of a European Union money-laundering blacklist, which includes Saudi Arabia as well as Puerto Rico and three other U.S. territories, could be blocked by EU governments under a procedure launched on Thursday, two EU diplomats told Reuters.
Some governments opposed adopting the provisional list on Thursday, triggering a process that could lead to it being delayed or withdrawn, the diplomats said.
List - Majority - States - EU - Officials
For the list to be blocked, a majority of 21 states is estimated to be necessary. EU officials said that around 15 countries, including Britain, France and all the big ones, have already declared their opposition to the listing.
“A very substantial amount” of EU states oppose it, an official said. A meeting of national experts on Friday in Brussels is expected to clarify each of the 28 EU states’ positions on the matter.
EU - Move - Saudi - Arabia - King
The EU move came after Saudi Arabia’s King Salman sent letters to all EU leaders urging them to reconsider the inclusion of Riyadh on the list, one of the letters seen by Reuters showed.
The listing of the Saudi Kingdom “will damage its reputation on the one hand and it will create difficulties in trade and investment flows between the Kingdom and the European Union on the other,” the King wrote.
Kingdom - Importer - EU - Weapons - Goods
The oil-rich kingdom is a major importer of EU weapons and goods.
One diplomat said Washington has also pressured EU countries to scrap the list.
US - Treasury - List - Commission - Listing
The U.S. Treasury said when the list was approved by the European Commission that the listing process was “flawed” and it rejected the inclusion of the four U.S. territories of American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam.
“ROLLING OUT BIG GUNS”
Diplomat - Saudi - Lobby
The diplomat said the Saudi lobby had intensified...
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