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Vatican bank may close accounts of foreign embassies

Catholic World News - September 30, 2013

The Vatican bank is planning to close out accounts held by foreign embassies, the Reuters news service reports, because of concerns raised by large cash withdrawals by some embassies.

Citing informed sources at the Vatican, Reuters reports that the Financial Information Authority, established to oversee Vatican financial affairs, has voiced concern about large cash withdrawals by the embassies of Iran, Iraq, and Indonesia. The withdrawals were made without adequate explanation, Vatican officials said. The transactions raised concerns particularly because international banking regulators view these countries as high risks for money-laundering and financing of terrorism.

Pope Francis has ordered a thorough review of the affairs of the Vatican bank, formally known as the Institute for Religious Works. The closing of accounts held by foreign embassies could be among the reforms suggested for implementation this year.

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