Buenos Aires

Pope Francis may apply Buenos Aires strategy on IOR

Bergoglio restructured local church finances in Argentina

Pope Francis may apply Buenos Aires strategy on IOR

Buenos Aires, April 4 - Pope Francis may apply the same strategy to resolving issues with the Vatican's Istituto Opere di Religione (IOR) bank as he used in the past to straightening out the finances of the Buenos Aires archdioceses, according an Argentine Catholic Church spokesman. The Italian press has also been increasingly speculating the Pontiff may be planning to reorganize or even shut down the IOR. The lender, which last year was found not to have been up to scratch in terms of European anti-money laundering standards by a regulating body, has often been criticized for lack of transparency in past decades. When he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Bergoglio forced the local church to give up its shareholdings in local lenders to ensure increased rigor in the way its accounts were managed, Buenos Aires archdioceses spokesman Federico Wals told Ansa. When Jorge Bergoglio took over from his predecessor Cardinal Antonio Quarracino in 1998, he had to deal with a crisis situation involving lack of liquidity and possible irregularities in relation to financial management. The situation escalated into the arrest of Monsignor Roberto Toledo, the private secretary of Quarracino, in the context of the bankruptcy of Banco de Credito. During his term the future Pope Francis carried out a radical reform of the archdioceses' finances, relinquishing the church's shareholdings in local lenders and turning to leading international banks such as HSBC and UBS for the management of the Catholic Church's funds. The restructuring strategy may be in line with Pope Francis' general call for a more austere and modest Catholic Church.

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