Tunisia Fires Central Bank Governor for 'Turning Blind Eye to Money Laundering'

Published February 8th, 2018 - 11:07 GMT
Tunisia, Sri Lanka and Trinidad and Tobago are now on the EU's money laundering blacklist. (Shutterstock)
Tunisia, Sri Lanka and Trinidad and Tobago are now on the EU's money laundering blacklist. (Shutterstock)

Tunisia, Sri Lanka and Trinidad and Tobago are now on the EU's money laundering blacklist, a press release posted on the European Parliament's website said.

“Despite intense efforts by some MEPs, the [Parliament] failed to achieve the 376-vote absolute majority needed to reject the inclusion of Tunisia, Sri Lanka, and Trinidad and Tobago to the European Commission’s list of non-EU countries considered to have strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and terrorism financing regimes,” the same source specified.

“The vote on Wednesday reflected the split in Parliament over the issue, with 357 votes in support of the motion, to 283 votes against, and 26 abstentions.”

The press release specified that “MEPs who tabled the motion focused their opposition on the inclusion of Tunisia. They believe the addition of the North African country is undeserved; that it is a burgeoning democracy in need of support and that the listing fails to recognise the recent steps it has taken to strengthen its financial system against criminal activity.

The list is part of the EU’s toolkit to protect itself against money laundering and terrorist financing, the same source pointed out.

“Naming Tunisia in these lists does not take into account the country’s economic peculiarities or the ongoing structural reforms,” Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui affirmed on Wednesday. 

“We will continue fighting for Tunisia to not be unfairly named in blacklists,” he pointed out after a meeting with President Beji Caid Essebsi.

On Wednesday, Tunisia fired the governor of its central bank hours after the decision was announced. According to The Associated Press (AP), Tunisian media have accused the governor, Chedli Ayari, of turning a blind eye to 'obscure transfers' received from non-governmental organizations and political parties. 

Prime Minister Youssef Chahed proposed to replace Chedli Ayari with Marouane El Abassi, currently the representative of Tunisia and Libya to the World Bank, AP reported.

Editor's note: The article has been adapted from its original source, with input from AP. 


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