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Catholic Culture Liturgical Living
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European bank regulators urge Vatican prosecution of money-laundering suspects

December 15, 2015

European banking examiners, while applauding the Vatican’s new regulations for financial transparency, have called for effective prosecution of those guilty of violating laws against money-laundering.

In a report released last week, the “Moneyval” committee acknowledged the strides the Vatican has made toward effective controls on financial transfers. However, Moneyval added that the Vatican “needs to deliver some real results on the prosecutorial side.”

Moneyval took note of the “intensive review process” in which the Vatican bank, the Institute for Religious Works, has scrutinized all accounts. The report also noted that Vatican financial regulators are now closely examining the books of APSA (the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See), the office that handles Vatican investments and payroll functions.

Still, Moneyval observed, while Vatican regulators have closed suspicious accounts, no prosecution has results. “While a significant amount of assets is reported to be frozen, there are no real results emerging by way of serious prosecutions or confiscations in any of the outstanding enquiries which involve allegations of money laundering.”

In November, the Vatican revealed that the Financial Information Authority had asked for cooperation from Italan and Swiss banking examiners in an investigation of a prominent financier, Gianpietro Nattino. The investigation might also have involved members of the staff of APSA, with whom Nattino had allegedly worked to make financial transfers while avoiding detection. To date no plans for prosecution have been announced.

In 2013 the Vatican suspended Msgr. Nunzio Scarano, who had been the director of accounting of APSA, when he became the focus of a money-laundering investigation by Italian prosecutors. Msgr. Scarano still faces several criminal charges in Italian courts, but has not yet been named as the subject of any Vatican charges.


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