ICO has upheld the FCA decision to refuse to disclose certain information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI) relating to countries FCA deems to present a high money laundering risk. FCA had been asked to disclose its most up-to-date list of countries deemed to present a high money laundering risk, including the date the list was last updated. FCA confirmed when the information was last updated, but withheld the requested list under section 27(1)(a) and (b) FOI. FCA argued disclosure of the withheld information would, or would be likely to, prejudice the UK’s relations with some of the countries on the requested list. It believes that this would reduce the willingness of these countries to engage with the UK. FCA recognised that there is a public interest in favour of transparency, and in furthering the public’s understanding of how the UK develops and implements financial services regulatory matters. However, it said it is strongly in the public interest that the UK has effective relations with other countries, and that it is able to carry out its functions without fear of prejudicing international relations. ICO considered section 27 FOI to have been correctly applied and upheld the decision to withhold the information. (Source: ICO Upholds FCA FOI Disclosure Refusal)