European Union Removes USVI from Money-Laundering Blacklist

The U.S. Virgin Islands and other U.S. territories are no longer 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, Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. announced Saturday.

“I am pleased to announce the territory is officially off the European Commission’s blacklist. 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,” Bryan said.

The governor said the decision to put the territory on the list was illogical in the first place.

“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,” he said. “We are pleased that the Department of Treasury, at the territories’ request, undertook aggressive actions to get EU Members to reverse the blacklisting.”

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 said posed “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 U.S. Virgin Islands had first been officially placed on the list in March 2018 without active action by the territory or the U.S. 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, Bryan said in his news release.