News / Europe

Vatican Bank Reforms Prompt Jump in Suspicious Activity Reports

FILE - An exterior view of the tower of the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) in Vatican City.
FILE - An exterior view of the tower of the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) in Vatican City.
Reuters
Reports of suspicious financial transactions at the Vatican leapt to 202 in 2013 from six the previous year, its Financial Information Authority (AIF) said on Monday, attributing the rise to keener vigilance prompted by reforms at the scandal-ridden Vatican Bank.
 
Since 2010, the Vatican has been enacting new legislation to bring its bank, the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), in line with international standards on financial transparency money laundering.
 
The AIF said the bulk of the Suspicious Transaction Reports (STR) it had received involved the bank, but declined to give specific numbers or percentages. Only five were considered serious enough to be referred to the Vatican's prosecutor.
 
“We are not perfect yet, we are not super-good yet,” Rene Bruelhart, the Swiss lawyer who heads the AIF, told a news conference. “We are more than satisfied that the direction we are going is good but there is still quite a bit of way to go”.
 
A report last December by Moneyval, a monitoring committee of the Council of Europe, said the Vatican had enacted significant reforms but must still exercise more oversight over its bank.
 
Bruelhart said his department had carried out an on-site inspection of the IOR this year to make sure that anti-money laundering procedures had taken root.
 
Pope Francis, who has said Vatican finances must be transparent in order for the Church to have credibility, decided against closing the IOR on condition that reforms continued.
 
Illegitimate accounts
 
Bruelhart said the bank had made “substantial progress” in investigating client relationships and closing the accounts of clients who were not entitled to them.
 
Only Vatican employees, religious institutions, orders of priests and nuns and Catholic charities are allowed to have accounts at the bank. But investigators have found that a number were being used by outsiders or that legitimate account holders were handling money for third parties.
 
Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, a former senior Vatican accountant who had close ties to the IOR, is currently on trial accused of plotting to smuggle millions of dollars into Italy from Switzerland in a scheme to help rich friends avoid taxes.
 
Scarano has also been indicted on separate charges of laundering millions of euros through the IOR. Paolo Cipriani and Massimo Tulli, the IOR's director and deputy director, who resigned last July after Scarano's arrest, have been ordered to stand trial on charges of violating anti-money laundering norms.
 
Bruelhart said the AIF had opened an “autonomous investigation” of the case and was cooperating with Italian authorities.
 
Of the 202 reports of suspicious transactions passed to the AIF, Bruelhart said many “did not have enough meat on the bone” to continue being scrutinized and others were still being examined.
 
Bruelhart said the Vatican was increasing its cooperation with other countries, notably on fighting money laundering.
 
He said the AIF had made 28 requests to foreign authorities for information on suspected financial crime in 2013, up from only one in 2012, and had itself received 53 such requests, up from three.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid