di Fausto Cicciò
Vatican City, August 13 - A new papal decree aimed at combating money laundering and corruption "is a positive sign," the Vatican's head of financial intelligence said Tuesday, but cautioned that "some steps still needed to be taken". "I don't think it would be opportune to have misplaced expectations," added René Bruelhart, head of the Holy See's Financial Information Authority (AIF), in an interview with Vatican Radio. Last week Pope Francis issued a law, known as a "motu proprio", that gives the AIF the new task of supervision over all areas of the Roman Curia, the Church's administration, as well as its other institutions. "Obviously at the front of the line is the Institute of Religious Works," said Bruelhart, referring to the formal name of the Vatican Bank, whose reputation has been mired by scandal allegations for decades. "Crucially we have created the right tools so that - while hopefully it will not happen - if more unfortunate incidents occur, the tools are there to take concrete, or even proactive, action". Francis is keen to remove stains from the bank'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. The new regulations establish a new body, the Financial Security Committee, for the purpose of "coordinating the competent authorities of the Holy See and the Vatican City State in the area of prevention and countering of money laundering, the financing of terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction".