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Vatican's financial watchdog steps down from second post to avoid conflict of interest

Catholic World News - July 07, 2011

Cardinal Attilio Nicora has resigned his post as president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) in order to concentrate on his duties as president of the newly created Financial Information Authority (FIA).

By stepping down from his post at APSA, Cardinal Nicora eliminates questions about a potential conflict of interest. As head of the FIA, the cardinal was responsible for ensuring the transparency of financial transfers by all Vatican agencies. APSA, which supervises the Vatican’s real-estate portfolio, was one on the offices that falls under the FIA’s purview.

The FIA was created last December in response to sharp criticism of the Vatican bank by Italian officials. Anxious to comply with new European regulations against money-laundering—and thus to gain a place on the “white list” of accredited institutions—the Vatican imposed new rules for accounting for all financial transactions. FIA is charged with enforcing those rules.

Criticism of the Vatican bank has eased since the new rules came into force, and Italian banking officials have released the €23 million in Vatican funds that were frozen during an investigation into money-laundering charges. But European officials continued to express concern about the possible conflicts of interest that Cardinal Nicora faced as head of both the APSA and FIA.

Archbishop Domenico Calcagno, who has been the secretary of APSA, will move up to replace Cardinal Nicora as president. Msgr. Luigi Misto, who has handled financial affairs for the Milan archdiocese, will become APSA’s new secretary.

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