Vatican City

Vatican's IOR bank to be more transparent, Von Freyberg says

Accounts to be published online

Vatican's IOR bank to be more transparent, Von Freyberg says

Vatican City, May 31 - The Vatican's Istituto Opere di Religione (IOR) bank plans to open up and be more transparent through the publication of its profit and loss accounts online and by running checks on its 19,000 account holders, according to comments made by the lender's president, Ernest von Freyberg. In addition, the bank will start to have a different "communication policy", and plans to give interview with "qualified representatives of the international press", von Freyberg said in a lengthy interview with Vatican Radio. Von Freyberg was appointed in February by Pope Benedict XVI in one of his last official acts as pontiff. He is a German aristocrat and industrialist. The Vatican bank, 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. Speculation was rife following the election of Pope Francis earlier this year that the pontiff could apply the same strategy to resolving issues with the IOR 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. "When I was appointed I thought I would have had to concentrate on what normally is defined as 'cleaning up' and 'putting things in order' among the irregular bank accounts", the new president said. "To date, nothing of this kinds has emerged from what I have been able to determine". "This doesn't mean that it doesn't exist, but that this is not our biggest concern", he added. "Our biggest concern is our reputation". "Our work, my work, relates much more to comunication than I could have originally thought", von Freyberg told Vatican Radio. "There is a lot to do in terms of comunication inside the Church, not enough has been done in the past", he said adding that there was a need for increased transparency and clear explanations relating to what is being done.

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