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Freeze on bank-card transactions imposes heavy losses on Vatican

Catholic World News - January 16, 2013

The Vatican is losing €30,000 (nearly $40,000) a day because of a freeze imposed by Italian regulators on bank-card transactions inside Vatican City, the ANSA news agency reports.

Italian banking authorities imposed a freeze on bank-card transactions inside the Vatican on January 1, saying that the Vatican has not yet met European standards designed to prevent money-laundering. The Vatican’s top consultant for banking security, Rene Bruelhart, has expressed surprise at the move, pointing out that the Vatican received a “good” evaluation from European banking examiners last July, and other European countries have expressed no major concerns about Vatican banking practices since the adoption of new security measures last year. The Italian regulators’ move against the Vatican seems to have been prompted by complaints that were lodged before the Vatican’s new security standards were put in place.

Vatican officials are searching for a way to resume bank-card transactions. For now, visitors are required to pay in cash for visits to the Vatican Museums and for other transactions inside the Vatican.

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