Domenica, 21 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Pope sets up commission for Vatican Bank

English
© ANSA

(By Christopher Livesay)
Rome, June 26 - Pope Francis has set up a
pontifical commission on the Vatican Bank, the Vatican announced
on Wednesday.
The commission will start working "in the coming days" with
the objective of briefing the pontiff on the bank's activities
and making sure it operated in harmony with the "Church's
mission," according to a statement.
The Vatican Bank, officially known as the Institute for
Religious Works (IOR), has come under scrutiny for alleged money
laundering and is now working with the Council of Europe's
Moneyval anti-money-laundering agency in a bid to make it onto
the international 'white list' of banking.
In a report last July, Moneyval said that the Holy See had
made progress on financial transparency, but added that more
reforms were needed.
Italian magistrates are currently investigating the bank on
money-laundering charges.
The Italian press has increasingly speculated on the fate
of the scandal-plagued bank, wondering whether the pontiff might
reorganize or shut it down.
The new IOR panel will be chaired by Cardinal Raffaele
Farina, and it will include another three prelates and Harvard
Law Professor Mary Ann Glendon, a former United States
Ambassador to the Holy See.
The Vatican Bank has made a series of moves to show greater
transparency since Francis became pope in March, succeeding
Benedict XVI who became the first pontiff to voluntarily
abdicate in 700 years.
Last month the Vatican's financial watchdog published its
first annual report on the Holy See's efforts to combat money
laundering and funding terrorism.
In it, the Financial Information Authority (AIF) said it
had uncovered six cases of suspect transactions in 2012, a
notable increase since 2011 when only one such case was flagged.
Two of those cases were sent on to Vatican prosecutors for
a probe.
AIF Director Rene' Bruelhart did not go into the specifics
of the transactions, specifying only that "they were not tied to
financing terrorism".
Established by Benedict XVI in 2010, the AIF is charged
with monitoring the commercial and monetary activities of
Vatican agencies like the Vatican Bank.
Over the years the Vatican Bank has acquired a murky image
on transparency.
There have been allegations that IOR was used to launder
money most notably by 'God's Banker' Roberto Calvi, the former
head of Italy's biggest private bank, whose body was found
hanging under Blackfriar's Bridge in London in 1982, a suspected
victim of the Sicilian mafia.
IOR was also named in kickbacks probes stemming from the
1990 collapse of public-private chemicals colossus Enimont, part
of the Clean Hands investigations that swept away Italy's old
political establishment.
More recently, there has been a series of Italian TV
reports and a best-selling book claiming to show how individuals
have used IOR to squirrel away money, dodging Italian
regulations.
A Vatican report to Moneyval is due in September.
Other efforts to make IOR more transparent include a move
to publish its balance sheets online by the end of the year.

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