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Vatican bank lags on transparency, European official says

Catholic World News - September 28, 2010

A top European banking official has disputed claims that the Vatican bank has made a full commitment to compliance with new European regulations against money-laundering.

Jeffrey Owens, who heads tax policy for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), said that the Vatican bank, the Institute for Religious Works, still needs to make “a formal commitment to the standards of transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes.”

IOR leaders have spoken with OECD officials about their plans to enter into full compliance with European rules, Owens confirmed. But the process is incomplete. “The speed of the negotiations depends very much on them,” Owens said.

Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, the head of the IOR, has said that the Vatican bank is working toward inclusion on the “White List” of nations that comply fully with European regulations. But at the moment, Owens said, the Vatican has not yet taken the steps necessary for inclusion on the “Gray List” of jurisdictions that are in partial compliance.

Efforts to make the IOR fully transparent in its financial dealings have reportedly encountered some opposition from within the Vatican. The Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported that the Vatican bank still carries numbered bank accounts registered to clients who are not members of the clergy. Gotti Tedeschi has been trying to close out those accounts, the Italian daily said, as part of his campaign to bring the IOR into compliance with new standards for banking transparency.

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