Europe

Vatican money-laundering investigations 'must show results'

  • 15 December 2015
  • From the section Europe
Pope Francis at Vatican bank council meeting Image copyright AP
Image caption Pope Francis attended a meeting of the Vatican bank's council last month

The Vatican must "deliver real results" from its investigations into money-laundering, the Council of Europe's financial agency has said.

In its latest report, Moneyval said the Vatican had improved its financial management and its bank had shut down almost 5,000 suspicious accounts.

Vatican prosecutors had frozen about €11m ($12m;£8m) and 29 money-laundering investigations had been launched.

However, the agency said there had yet to be any indictments or prosecutions.

It said there was "a need now for the anti-money-laundering and counter-terrorist financing system to deliver effective results in terms of prosecutions, convictions and confiscation".

Moneyval said "the Holy See/Vatican City authorities should ensure that the gendarmerie and the prosecutor's office have the capacity to conduct proactive financial investigations" in order that current probes could produce results.

Management change

The Vatican said it had nothing to add to earlier comments welcoming Moneyval's acknowledgement that improvements had been made.

Moneyval, which was making its third evaluation of the Vatican since 2012, said the Holy See should give an update by December 2017 on actions it had taken to implement the agency's latest recommendations.

Shortly after taking office, Pope Francis had said the Vatican's finances should be more transparent and its bank should operate in "harmony" with the mission of the Church.

Moneyval's latest report comes about 18 months after the Vatican said it was replacing the entire senior management team of its bank as part of reforms of the Catholic Church's central government.

It said the bank would also eventually give up its investment activities to focus on serving religious orders and charities.

The changes followed persistent allegations that the Vatican bank had been used by money launderers and businessmen taking advantage of the bank's status - what amounted to an international offshore tax haven.

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