Vatican credit-card crisis over

Deal with Swiss company ends freeze

Vatican credit-card crisis over

Rome, February 12 - A credit-card and ATM block that has plagued visitors to the Vatican since January is over, a spokesman said Tuesday. "The system of electronic payments with ATMs and credit cards has been reactivated," spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said. He said the new service was "guaranteed" by a deal with Swiss company Aduno Sa. On January 1 the Bank of Italy froze all credit-card and ATM transactions inside the Vatican City over its failure to fully implement international anti-money-laundering standards. In late December, the central bank denied Deutsche Bank Italy, the Vatican's former provider of electronic-payment services, a permit because of the Vatican's shortcomings in financial controls and oversight. The apparent tipping point that triggered the action was a Rome prosecutor's investigation of possible money laundering in 2010 at the Vatican's bank, also known as the Institute for Religious Works (IOR). The Holy See has been trying without success to join the 'white list' of states that meet international standards on combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Last July, the Council of Europe's Moneyval department said in a report that the Holy See had made progress on financial transparency, but added that more reforms were needed. CITTA' DEL VATICANO, 12 FEB -

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