15 February 2018
In the news: Charles Hollis speaks to Al Arabiya news
The European Commission’s widely trailed decision on 13 February to include Saudi Arabia on a list of countries of heightened money-laundering concern, a decision reportedly opposed by the UK, France and other leading member states, will complicate commercial relations between European financial institutions and businesses seeking to transact with Saudi Arabia, in particular by requiring them to undertake enhanced due diligence on Saudi counterparties. The decision still needs to be ratified by the European Parliament and Member States before it takes effect, a process likely to take up to two months.
While we do not expect aggressive retaliation from Riyadh, whose priority will be to have the decision reversed, it could lead to a questioning on the Saudi side of the reliability of dealing with EU entities to the commercial advantage of businesses elsewhere. Overall, this represents another pothole in the currently bumpy relations between the EU and Riyadh.
Managing Director, Falanx Assynt