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Iraq added to EU terrorism finance list due to Iran-backed militias?

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Iraq was doomed by the European Union decision to place the country on its draft list of countries that pose a threat to the bloc because of lax controls against terrorism financing and money laundering, just a year after it announced beating ISIS, an observer said.

Placing Iraq in the EU list will ensure a bad image of Iraq before the international community, from which Iraq has sought help in reconstructing cities liberated from ISIS. Also, many investors probably will not be willing to expand their activities in Iraq.

Moreover, the placement of Iraq in such transparent list means that the militias loyal to Iran in the country control the situation.

Observers argue that more than 67 militias in Iraq receive billions of dollars every year from Iran and from the Iraqi fiscal budget as well.

The EU’s list currently consists of 16 countries, including Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and North Korea, and is mostly based on criteria used by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global body composed by wealthy nations meant to combat money laundering and terrorism financing, Reuters reported.

But the list has been updated this week, using new criteria developed by the EU Commission since 2017. 

Company ownership

A second EU official said other countries are likely to be added to the final list but declined to elaborate as the information is still confidential and subject to changes.

An EU commission spokesman said he had no comment on the content of the list as it had not been finalized yet.

Countries are blacklisted if they “have strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism regimes that pose significant threats to the financial system of the Union,” the existing EU list says.

Under the new EU methodology, jurisdictions could also be blacklisted if they do not provide sufficient information on ownership of companies or if their rules on reporting suspicious transactions or monitoring financial customers are considered too lax.

The EU has reviewed 47 jurisdictions, including the United States, Russia and Switzerland, before updating its list. EU countries were not screened.
Last Modified: Friday، 01 February 2019 12:27 AM
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