Nigeria, Ghana, Saudi Arabia and Panama were named in a proposed European Union blacklist of nations seen as posing a threat because of lax controls on terrorism financing and money laundering, the E.U. executive said on Wednesday.
The move is part of a crackdown on money laundering after several scandals at E.U. banks but has been criticised by several E.U. countries including Britain worried about their economic relations with the listed states, notably Saudi Arabia.
Nigerian and Ghanaian officials are yet to react to the proposed blacklist.
The Saudi government said it regretted the decision in a statement published by the Saudi Press Agency, adding: “Saudi Arabia’s commitment to combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism is a strategic priority”.
Despite pressure to exclude Riyadh from the list, the commission decided to list the kingdom, confirming a Reuters report in January.
Panama said it should be removed from the list because it recently adopted stronger rules against money laundering.
Apart from reputational damage, inclusion on the list complicates financial relations with the E.U.