In July 2016, the executive branch of the European Union, first published a list of countries that are considered high-risk, and from which players should be subjected to stricter checks by gaming operators. This list has been updated a number of times as more countries are identified and flagged by the Commission.
Based on Directive (EU) 2015/849, Article 9, the Commission identifies any high-risk third countries that have strategic deficiencies in their regime on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism.
As such, operators based in the EU that are offering services to these countries or dealing with players from these nations are obliged to carry out heightened and stricter vigilance checks.
In a recent update published by the executive branch of the EU, more countries like Burkina Faso, the Cayman Islands, Haiti, Jordan, Malo, Morocco, Myanmar, the Philippines, Senegal and South Sudan were added on the list.
Other nations included on the list include Afghanistan, Barbados, Cambodia, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Jamaica, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Vanuatu, Yemen and Zimbabwe.
Countries are only added to the list if they don’t meet a series of criteria set by the Commission, which include a number of factors set out by the Financial Action Task Force.
The Commission in identifying the risk profile and the level of threat to which a country is exposed, assesses the legal framework and its effective application, in eight crucial areas. First, by analyzing countries on the criminalisation of money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism; customer due diligence requirements, record keeping and reporting of suspicious transactions in the financial sector; and the same requirements in the non-financial sector.
The Commission also considers the existence of dissuasive, proportionate and effective sanctions in case of breaches; the powers and procedures of competent authorities and their practice in international cooperation; the availability and exchange of information on beneficial ownership of legal persons and legal arrangements, and the implementation of targeted financial sanctions.