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Vatican bank president awaits Pope's verdict for future

February 17, 2014

The president of the Vatican bank has said that he cannot predict what Pope Francis will decide regarding the future of the institution.

“I don’t know what will happen,” Ernst von Freyberg, who was appointed last year to head the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), told the Argentine newspaper La Nacion. Pope Francis is conferring this week with the Council of Cardinals, and receiving reports from the special commissions he created to review the Vatican’s financial affairs. The future of the IOR will clearly be one of the main items on the agenda.

The Pope could choose to close down the IOR entirely, or to revise the mission of the institution. Alternatively he could reach the conclusion that with the implementation of new rules requiring transparency in financial transactions, the IOR can continue its current operations.

The IOR has come under suspicion in recent years because of lax accounting standards, which prompted European banking regulators to fear that the Vatican institution might be used for money-laundering. A review of accounts, following the imposition of new accounting standards, has uncovered some “black sheep,” von Freyberg disclosed. But he said that the review has not found any “systematic violations.”


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