Holy See passes financial transparency audit, but could do better

After passing a financial transparency audit by European bank inspectors, the Holy See says it is still working towards a robust and sustainable system to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

The audit by Moneyval, a department of the Council of Europe, followed a request by the Holy See last year for an evaluation of its financial control systems and safeguards against criminal activity.

While the Holy See passed 9 of the 16 key tests — putting it in the same league as countries that have been working for years on their financial transparency — the inspectors called for improvement in several areas.

The financial transparency audit was most critical of the Vatican’s new financial oversight agency, the Financial Information Authority.

The inspectors said it does not appear to have the authority and resources necessary to maintain adequate oversight of the Vatican’s financial activities.

The report also recommended more professional oversight of the Vatican bank, the Institute for Religious Works. The inspectors “strongly recommended” that it should be independently supervised and should make rules about who is actually eligible to keep accounts there.

On the positive side, the report said the Holy See “has come a long way in a short period of time” and that many of the “building blocks” to combat money laundering are in place, even though more has to be done.

Responding to the report, the Holy See’s Undersecretary for Relations with States, Monsignor Ettore Ballestero, said the Holy See and Vatican City had been found to be “largely compliant with international standards”.

He said the Holy See had laid the foundations for “a robust and sustainable system to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Now it is our wish to fully construct a building that effectively shows the Holy See’s and Vatican City State’s desire to be a reliable partner in the international community.”


Vatican Radio

Associated Press


Image: Political World

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