Vatican City

Vatican signs bank transparency deal with Italy

'We take anti-money laundering seriously' says Church watchdog

Vatican signs bank transparency deal with Italy

Vatican City, July 29 - The Vatican has signed a formal agreement with Italy on banking and financial information to fight money laundering, the Vatican announced on Monday. "The Holy See and the Vatican City State take very seriously international responsibilities concerning anti-money laundering and the financing of terrorism and Italy is a particularly important partner for us," said René Bruelhart, director of the Financial Information Authority (AIF), the Vatican's financial watchdog behind the agreement with Italy's central bank. The agreement, signed July 26, was based on a model prepared by the Egmont Group, the global network of financial intelligence units. Bruelhart was appointed in 2010 as the vice-chair of the Egmont Group. The agreement contains clauses on reciprocity, confidentiality and the permitted uses of financial information. The AIF became a member of the Egmont Group earlier this month. In recent months it has signed memoranda of understanding with the financial intelligence unit of the United States, Belgium, Spain, Slovenia and the Netherlands. Deals between other countries are expected to follow later this year. The question of financial transparency at the Holy See is a delicate one given decades of scandal at the Vatican bank, formally known as the Institute for Religious Works (IOR). The pontiff is reportedly keen to remove stains from IOR's reputation and get the Vatican onto the 'white list' of countries with unimpeachable credentials by working with the Council of Europe's Moneyval anti-money-laundering agency.

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