Vatican City

Vatican appoints new head of agency against money laundering

Swiss national to also help in prevention of terrorist financing

Vatican appoints new head of agency against money laundering

Vatican City, November 7 - In an effort to more effectively fight money laundering and other financial crimes, the Vatican has formally appointed a new director for its Financial Information Authority (FIA). Rene' Bruelhart, 40, an expert on international measures against money laundering, becomes the new director of FIA, the Holy See's financial authority. Bruelhart, a Swiss national who had been working as an adviser to the Vatican, replaces lawyer Francesco De Pasquale, who is moving to the authority's Governing Council. Bruelhart is a former director of the financial information unit of the government of Liechtenstein and vice president of the Egmont Group, an international financial intelligence firm. As a consultant to the Vatican, he has been advising on prevention and fighting against money laundering and the financing of terrorism. "This is a further step in the process of combating money laundering and financing of terrorism," said the director of the Vatican press office, Father Federico Lombardi. The Holy See is trying to join the "white list" of states that, unlike tax havens, respect international standards on combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism. In July, the Council of Europe's Moneyval department said in a report that the Holy See had made some progress on financial transparency, but added that more reforms were needed. The issue of financial transparency in the Vatican is sensitive. The Holy See has denied speculation that the former head of the Vatican Bank, the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), was ousted in May over internal divisions concerning efforts to attain international transparency standards. Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone has maintained that relations between Ettore Gotti Tedeschi and the IOR's board members had simply broken down.

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