Guam, other US territories in European Union’s dirty-money blacklist again
Guam, American Samoa, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are included in the European Nation’s updated list of areas that are deemed hot spots for money laundering and terrorism financing.
The U.S. Department of Treasury rejected the inclusion of U.S. territories, calling into question the substance of the EU list and the “flawed” process by which it was developed.
The EU list is an update from a previous one released in 2017, following the 2016 publication of the Panama Papers, which revealed how the global rich and powerful avoided taxes or laundered money through offshore shell companies.
While creating off-shore accounts is legal, they can be used to avoid taxes and hide criminal activity.
The EU list places Guam and the other U.S. territories alongside the likes of North Korea, Iran and Syria, along with Saudi Arabia and Panama.
Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero’s office had yet to comment on Guam’s inclusion in the list.
Inclusion in the list means the EU considers these areas as posing significant threats to the European Nation’s financial system as a result of strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and countering terrorism financing.
In a Wednesday statement, the U.S. Treasury said it does not expect American banks to take the EU list into account in their policies and procedures on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terror.
The U.S. Treasury said the European Commission’s process for developing its list contrasts starkly with the thorough methodology of the Financial Action Task Force, the global standard-setting body for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation financing of which the United States and the European Commission are among members.
“Beyond our concerns with the listing methodology, the Treasury Department rejects the inclusion of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands on the list,” the Treasury said in a statement. “The commitments and actions of the United States in implementing the Financial Action Task Force standards extend to all U.S. territories.”
Treasury also said it was not provided any meaningful opportunity to discuss with the European Commission its basis for including the listed U.S. territories.