EU removes Pakistan from high-risk countries list

Islamabad, March 29 (EFE).- The European Commission has removed Pakistan from the list of countries it believes pose a high risk of money laundering or terrorist financing.

A commerce ministry statement said the move cleared obstacles for Pakistani businesses and individuals subjected to “enhanced due diligence” by European legal and economic operators.

The EU commission’s list of high-risk countries includes those nations and territories with strategic deficiencies in anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism regimes that can pose a serious threat to its financial system.

Pakistan was included in the list in October 2018 under additional regulatory restrictions.

According to the statement, it had created an undue regulatory burden on “Obligated Entities” in the EU and there were instances whereby some of them had refused to entertain legal and financial transactions with individuals and entities based in Pakistan.

The obligated entities include credit institutions, financial institutions, auditors, external accountants, tax advisors, notaries, independent legal professionals, estate agents, and individuals trading in goods, said the statement.

Last year in October, Pakistan was taken off the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) global money laundering watchlist.

The development comes as the South Asian nation is witnessing a severe economic crisis, bringing the country to the verge of a default.

The EU’s delegation in Pakistan termed the move an “important positive step” for Pakistan.

“In line with last year’s FATF decision, the EU has decided to remove Pakistan from its list of countries with high risk regarding money laundering and financing of terrorism,” the EU delegation said on Twitter on Wednesday.

The new development would add to the comfort level of the European economic operators and is likely to ease the cost and time of legal and financial transactions by Pakistani entities and individuals in the EU.

In November last year, the United Kingdom removed Pakistan from its ‘high-risk third countries’ list through a statutory instrument, meaning that the country recognized Pakistan’s efforts to improve money laundering and terror financing curbs. EFE


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