Lunedì, 22 Aprile 2019
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Vatican Bank continues clean-up, transparency drive


(By Emily Backus).
Vatican City, October 1 - The Vatican Bank, known
as the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), for the first time
in its 125-year history on Tuesday issued an annual report as
part of a sweeping effort to bring more transparency to the Holy
See's finances.
IOR's chief Ernst von Freyberg said the bank is currently
engaged in deep house-cleaning, with reforms that include
anti-money laundering measures and shutting inappropriate
The IOR on September 23 sent a first wave of 900 letters to
clients informing them that the bank is terminating their
accounts, Corriere della Sera reported on Tuesday, adding that
at the end of 2012 the bank had a total of roughly 19,000
The Italian newspaper, which did not cite its sources, said
the accounts did not pass scrutiny with anti-money-laundering
consultant Promontory, hired since May to scrub the bank's
The paper added that the accounts of all foreign diplomats
accredited with the Vatican City State are among those being
terminated, and cited suspiciously large cash transactions made
by the diplomatic missions of Iran, Iraq and Indonesia.
''The IOR is engaged in a process of comprehensive reform,
to foster the most rigorous professional and compliance
standards,'' wrote IOR President Ernst von Freyberg in a note
accompanying the website publication of the 2012 annual report.
''This includes implementing strict anti-money laundering
processes and improving our internal structures,'' von Freyberg
''We are conducting an extensive evaluation of all our
clients' accounts, with the aim of closing down those
relationships that are not in line with the IOR's mission,'' he
Von Freyberg told Vatican Radio on Tuesday that publishing
the annual report is part of a three-pillar transparency
strategy the IOR launched from the beginning of Pope Francis's
pontificate last March: talking to the press on a regular basis
- an effort that requiring the formation of a media relations
office; establishing an IOR website as a conduit for disclosure;
and publishing annual reports for the first time.
Von Freyberg also told radio listeners the IOR had opened
its books to respected independent auditors.
''IOR accounts have been (independently) checked for a long
time, always by respectable international auditing companies. In
2013 they were checked by KPMG,'' von Fryberg continued.
''We have gone a long way on transparency and compliance,''
the bank chief declared.
IOR's 2012 annual report announced a net profit of 86.6
million euros in 2012, or four times 2011's result of 20.3
million euros.
The IOR used 54.7 million to increase the Holy See's budget
and 31.9 million euros went to a general reserve for operational
The report also disclosed for the first time the make-up of
the IOR's assets, including 2.73 billion euros in trading
securities, 1.2 billion euros of banking deposits, 41.3 million
euros of gold, metals and precious coins, and zero derivative
financial instruments.

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