The European Union (EU) is poised to add 12 countries to its list of jurisdictions whose lax or inadequate regulation continue to "pose significant threats to the financial system of the Union."
According to the Reuters news agency, the EU considers the 12 new countries to be a financial risk because of anti-money laundering and terrorism financing shortfalls in their regulatory systems.
The extended list is based on new methodology drawing on data from the EU and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body that sets international anti-money laundering standards.
The new countries, which were added to the bloc's notorious blacklist on Thursday, include The Bahamas (which was removed from the EU's tax blacklist only in February), Barbados, Jamaica, Nicaragua and Panama. Four countries from Africa have been added, namely: Botswana, Ghana, Mauritius and Zimbabwe.
New countries in Asia are Cambodia, Mongolia and Myanmar.
The additions are causing additional anguish at a time when the covid-19 restrictions are already having a devastating effect around the world, and particularly in emerging markets.
Khushboo Chopra, head of business development (India), Sanne, said: "The government of Mauritius has reiterated its high level of political commitment to implement the action plan of the FATF at the earliest to exit the FATF and the EU lists and reassure the global investment community that Mauritius remains a credible and trusted jurisdiction."
On Saturday Cayman Island's premier, Alden McLaughlin, lamented his country's blacklisting by the EU, saying it remains "a source of major worry and concern," at a time when the Caymans' economy is more reliant on financial services than ever before.
The extension of the EU regulatory blacklist comes as the European Commission is working to establish its own, centralised, anti-money laundering taskforce.