Jan 26, 2019 07:33 Asia/Tehran
  • European Commission adds Saudi Arabia to draft terrorism financing list
    European Commission adds Saudi Arabia to draft terrorism financing list

European Commission added Saudi Arabia to a draft list of countries financing Terrorism, because of Riyadh's past activities, and lax controls on terrorism financing.

Iran Press/Europe: The EU's list currently consists of 16 countries, including Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and North Korea, and is mostly based on criteria used by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global body formed by developed nations.

The draft list has been updated to address new criteria developed by the EU Commission since 2017. Saudi Arabia is one of the countries added to the updated list that is still confidential, one EU source and one Saudi source told Reuters on Friday.

Under the new EU methodology, jurisdictions may 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.

Saudi Arabia missed out on gaining full FATF membership in September after it was determined to fall short in combating both money laundering and terror financing.

Apart from damage to its reputation, inclusion in the list complicates Saudi Arabia's financial relations with the EU. The bloc's banks must carry out additional checks on payments involving entities from listed jurisdictions.

The move marks a setback for Riyadh at a time when it has launched a charm offensive to bolster its international reputation in order to encourage foreign investors to participate in a huge transformation plan and improve financial ties for its banks.

It also comes amid heightened international pressure after the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom's Istanbul consulate on 2 October.

On 11 January, Amnesty International called for a UN investigation into  Jamal Khashoggi's murder in Istanbul, Turkey.

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The Washington Post columnist, who would regularly bash Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in his articles, entered the diplomatic mission to obtain documents for a pending second marriage, but never came out alive.

Evidence has shown that the killing was carried out by a hit squad with close links to Mohammad bin Salman, and Turkish officials have blamed the royal for the death.

Earlier on January 3, Saudi Arabia's attorney general confirmed that the Kingdom's court held its first secret trial in Riyadh for 11 suspects involved in the Jamal Khashoggi murder case.

Attorney General, Saud Al Mujeb added 11 suspects were indicted in court.

During the court session, the prosecutor asked for death sentences to be handed to five suspects accused of killing journalist, Jamal Khashoggi. 101/201/211

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