Vatican financial transactions more transparent

Suspicious activity “sharply” reduced and Vatican financial transactions became more transparent in 2016, says the Vatican financial watchdog.

The Vatican Financial Information Authority (AIF) says over the past year it has entered “growing number of agreements” involving international cooperation and information exchange.

These allow information to be shared with other foreign financial intelligence authorities.

While these agreements help, the AIF is taking a “preventive and proactive approach” to its role.

It would like to see a continued tightening of standards for financial disclosure to guard against increasingly sophisticated means of money-laundering.

The AIF’s statistical account of its work in 2016 show it made 700 requests to foreign authorities for documents, data and information relevant for preventing or countering criminal activity.

This is up from 500 requests in 2015 and 20 in 2014.

It also says the “544 questionable transactions” it reported in 2015 more than halved last year: 202 suspicious financial transactions were picked up at Vatican institutions.

The suspicious activities led to several transactions being suspended and a $1.5 million account at the Vatican bank being frozen.

Twenty-two cases were referred to Vatican prosecutors. No prosecutions have been announced yet.

The AIF report also shows a steady increase in the number of cases involving cooperation with foreign prosecutors: from 81 cases in 2013 to 113 in 2014, 380 in 2015, and 837 last year.

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News category: World.

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