News / Europe

    Vatican Passes New Law to Clean Up Finances

    FILE - An exterior view of the tower of the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) in Vatican City, Italy.
    FILE - An exterior view of the tower of the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) in Vatican City, Italy.
    Reuters
    The Vatican said on Wednesday it passed a law to make its public finances fully transparent, responding to demands for change from the international community after decades of scandal.
     
    Pope Francis, whose reform-heavy agenda has shaken up the Church since his election in March, has made cleaning up the Vatican's financial reputation one of the main goals of his pontificate.
     
    The Vatican said the law on financial transparency and the prevention of money laundering, which took effect on Tuesday, would cover the tiny city-state's bank and all other departments dealing with money.
     
    It contains articles on internal supervision and cooperation with other countries and law enforcement agencies.
     
    “With this law, I think we are about 99 percent done in adhering to standards in this area. What remains are details,” said Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi.
     
    A report by Moneyval, the Council of Europe's anti-money laundering committee, said last year that while the Holy See had taken steps to improve standards, more needed to be done. The committee, which carried out the review at the Vatican's request, is due to conduct a new assessment later this year.
     
    Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican's foreign minister, said the law took the Vatican closer to meeting the Moneyval recommendations and international standards.
     
    Pope Francis, who has appointed a committee to report on how to reform the bank and approved the new law on Sunday, has not ruled out closing the bank if necessary.
     
    It is still under investigation by Italian magistrates on suspicion of money laundering, which it denies. A senior Vatican prelate who was arrested in June goes on trial in December on charges of money smuggling.
     
    More supervision
     
    The new law incorporates and expands on steps the Vatican has taken in the past two years to meet international standards on fighting money laundering, tax evasion and the financing of terrorism.
     
    It gives greater supervisory and regulatory powers to the Vatican's in-house Financial Information Authority (AIF) to monitor the activities of its bank and other Holy See departments involved in financial activities.
     
    Among other powers, the AIF can make spot checks on Vatican departments, including the bank, rule on the competence and honesty of managers and inspect documents of any department.
     
    In July, the AIF signed a memorandum of understanding with Italian authorities over the exchange of financial and bank information as part of efforts to combat money laundering.
     
    The Vatican bank, whose stated mission is to hold and manage money for the Vatican and orders of Catholic priests and nuns around the world, published the first annual report in its 125-year history last week.

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora