Europe Says Iraq Is No Longer A High Risk For Money Laundering

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The European Union has removed Iraq from its list of countries at high risk for money laundering, six years after first identifying it as a problematic jurisdiction.

EU Ambassador to Iraq Ville Varjola meets Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in Baghdad on 9 January, Saying He was “bringing the good news … that Iraq has been removed by the European Union from its list of countries at high risk of money laundering.”

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Varzola said the move would “pave the way for deepening financial cooperation and investment.” He did not give any reason for the change.

Al-Kadhimi welcomed the decision, Saying It was “a manifestation of our effective diplomatic efforts. We will continue to work diligently to serve our national interests, and achieve the status Iraq deserves.”

EU decision comes as Iraq gradually draws closer to formation new government, after the general election in October 2021.

Iraq was included in the European Union’s list of countries with strategic deficits in anti-money laundering (AML) and financing of terrorism (CFT) since Brussels released its first list in July 2016.

list is regular Change Since then – Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago and Tunisia were all added in 2017 and Pakistan was added the following year. In 2020, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Guyana, Laos, Ethiopia, Mongolia, Sri Lanka and Tunisia were all dropped. However, Iraq continues to be on the list so far.

Its removal would leave 18 countries on the EU’s high-risk register, which includes countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe to the Bahamas, Syria and Yemen.

Under FATF ‘Grey List’

The EU’s change of heart on Iraq is in line with the position of other major economies and intergovernmental surveillance.

Similar to the EU list ‘Grey List’ The list of countries – officially known as “Jurisdictions under increased surveillance” – created by Paris-based global anti-money laundering watchdog The Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Iraq was removed From the FATF gray list in June 2018. At the time, the organization stated that the country had “made significant progress in improving its AML/CFT regime”.

Some 11 countries are on both the EU and FATF lists, including Cambodia, Jamaica, Myanmar and Panama. it was recently Reported That the United Arab Emirates could be placed on the FATF gray list has not been confirmed.

The US State Department compiles a far more comprehensive list of countries as part of its annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, The most recent report, published in March last year, covered 80 “major money laundering jurisdictions” including the US, but not Iraq.

Since leaving the EU, the UK has maintained its own list of countries at high risk for money laundering. London also in March last year removed Iraq from your list

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