Sabato, 20 Ottobre 2018

Pope tightens screws on money laundering


(By Christopher Livesay)

Vatican City, August 8 - The Vatican said Thursday
that Pope Francis has issued new regulations at the Holy See to
combat money laundering, the financing of terrorism and the
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
The regulations, announced in a papal decree known as a
Motu Proprio, are part of the pope's drive to clean up the Holy
See's reputation on financial transparency.
This has been hit by a number of scandals, including
several at the Vatican Bank, officially called the Institute of
Religious Works (IOR).
Francis is keen to remove stains from the bank's reputation
and get the Vatican onto the 'white list' of countries with
unimpeachable credentials by working with the Council of
Europe's Moneyval anti-money-laundering agency.
"(The decree) is a step forward in the process of adjusting
Vatican regulations to international standards to combat money
laundering and terrorist financing, a process already underway
for some time and which also makes use of the dialogue with the
authorities of Moneyval," said Vatican Spokesman Father Federico
Last year Moneyval said in a report the Vatican had made
progress on financial transparency but still needed to improve
in many areas.
The Vatican said the decree strengthens the supervisory and
regulatory function of the Vatican's Financial Information
Authority (AIF).
It also gives the AIF "the function of prudential
supervision over entities habitually engaged in financial
activities," in response to a recommendation from Moneyval.
The decree also establishes a new body, the Financial
Security Committee, for the purpose of "coordinating the
competent authorities of the Holy See and the Vatican City State
in the area of prevention and countering of money laundering,
the financing of terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of
mass destruction".
Amid various scandals, the Italian press has been
speculating that the pontiff may be planning to reorganize or
even shut down the IOR.
Rumors were fueled last week in a candid conversation with
journalists aboard Francis's flight back from Brazil where he
had made his first visit as pope.
"Proposals for reform are many...I don't know what is going
to happen with the IOR: some say it's better to have a bank,
others say a foundation's what's needed and others say it should
be shut down. I trust in the work being done by the people
employed in the IOR and the commission. But whatever happens to
the IOR, what is needed for sure is transparency and honesty,"
Francis said.
Since his election in March Francis has overseen a number
of financial regulatory maneuvers at the Holy See.
The Argentine pontiff in July announced the appointment of
a panel of eight experts, including a young female Ernst & Young
accounting executive, to run a pontifical commission aimed at
monitoring the economic and organizational structure of Vatican
Last week the Vatican Bank launched a new website where it
will publish its annual balance sheet.
Ernst Von Freyberg, who was appointed as head of the
embattled bank in February, said that an "international
organization" would be consulted to oversee that transactions
are in accordance with Vatican and international standards.
The Vatican Bank and several of its employees have been
probed by Italian magistrates in the past.

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