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Fallout from old money-laundering case prompted suspension of Vatican bank-card transactions

Catholic World News - January 08, 2013

Italian banking officials suspended bank-card transactions at the Vatican on January 1 because of lingering questions about the Vatican bank’s involvement in a money-laundering case dating from 2010, the ANSA news service reports.

By refusing to process bank-card transactions from the Vatican, Italian banks have effectively put the Vatican on a cash-only basis since the beginning of this year. Vatican officials are scrambling to find an alternative way of processing bank-card transactions, to make it easier for tourists visiting the Vatican Museums and other sites.

Prosecutors in Rome have reportedly been investigating the role of the Vatican bank, the Institute for Religious Works, in an old money-laundering case. The concerns raised by that case triggered the bank officials’ move, ANSA says.

The Vatican has instituted a series of financial reforms in the past year in a drive to meet tough new European banking standards, and European examiners acknowledged last July that the Vatican had made great strides in protecting against money-laundering. However the examiners called for further steps to assure accountability in financial transactions.

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