The European Commission added four African countries to a new list of countries that pose financial risks to the European Union due to anti-money laundering and terrorism financing shortfalls.
The four countries are Botswana, Ghana, Mauritius and Zimbabwe. Uganda was already on the list which now has a total of 22 countries. The EU said all countries on the list with the exception of North Korea pledged to change their rules in order to address the problem.
The Commission says more needs to be done to contain the practice of money-laundering in those countries.
According to a document seen by Reuters, the countries on the list “pose significant threats to the financial system of the Union”.
The European Commission said that it is looking into the possibility of creating a new authority to tackle financial crime and keep an eye on banks more strictly.
“We need to put an end to dirty money infiltrating our financial system. Today we are further bolstering our defences to fight money laundering and terrorist financing, with a comprehensive and far-reaching Action Plan,” EU Executive Vice President of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis said.
The addition of the countries means that companies in any of them are prohibited from receiving new funding from the European Union. The updated list is set to come into force in October this year.
Banks and other financial and tax firms are obligated to inspect more closely their clients who have any dealings with countries on the list, according to EU law.
Meanwhile, Ethiopia and Tunisia have been removed from the list owing to progress they have made in tackling money laundering and terrorism financing.
Transparency International has called for urgent action during the COVID-19 pandemic which could lead to a marked increase in criminal activity involving cross-border financial flows.