Africa’s largest nation, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Panama are among the countries added by the European Commission to blacklisted nations for posing threats because of lax controls on terrorism financing and money laundering.
The listing of the countries is part of a crackdown against money laundering after several scandals hit banks in European Union (EU) in recent months.
But the development has triggered criticism from several EU states. They are worried about their economic relations with the listed states, notably, Saudi Arabia.
The criteria used to blacklist countries include low sanctions against money laundering and terrorism financing, insufficient cooperation with the EU on the matter and lack of transparency over the beneficial owners of companies and trusts.
Five of the listed countries are already included on a separate EU blacklist of tax havens. They are: Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago and the three United States (U.S.) territories of American Samoa, Guam and U.S. Virgin Islands.