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U.S. Virgin Islands Removed From European Union Money Laundering Blacklist

CHRISTIANSTED — Governor Albert Bryan, Jr said today the U.S. Virgin Islands is no longer on a list on a list of 23 high-risk jurisdictions the European Commission claimed were “posing significant threats” to the European Union’s financial system, including threats of terrorism.

“I am pleased to announce the territory is officially off the European Commission’s blacklist,” Governor Bryan said. “We have worked closely with the Treasury Department and our legal team in Washington to have the EU Members reverse the declaration of the EC. Blacklisting the territory hampers our efforts to keep and attract foreign investment and erodes confidence in our banking system.”

The European Union on February 12 placed the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guam, and American Samoa, on a list of 23 high-risk jurisdictions it says are “posing significant threats” to its financial system as a result of strategic deficiencies in their Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terror regimes.

“The placement of the U.S. territories on the blacklist made no sense since the U.S. as a whole was not placed on the list, and the territories use U.S. currency, tax systems, tax treaties, banking, corporate laws, and courts the same as all states. We are pleased that the Department of Treasury, at the territories’ request, undertook aggressive actions to get EU members to reverse the blacklisting.”

The U.S. Virgin Islands had first been officially placed on the list in March 2018 without active action by the territory or the United States Treasury.

The change came after 27 of the 28 EU member states objected to the list during a Council Meeting last week in Brussels, Belgium.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 50 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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