First Vatican Report Against Money Laundering Released

Holy See Taking Steps to Combat Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing

Vatican City, (Zenit.org) H. Sergio Mora | 1242 hits

The Vatican’s Financial Information Authority (AIF) published its first annual report, which examines the activities and statistics of 2012.

AIF not only controls the activities of the Institute of Religious Works (IOR), erroneously called the “Vatican’s bank,” but also the “individuals, physical and juridical persons who carry out professionally an activity of a financial nature in the State,” “all the organisms and entities that depend on the Holy See that carry our professionally an activity of a financial type, as well as the dicasteries of the Roman Curia and related institutions.”

The report was presented today at the Holy See Press Office, by AIF’s director, Rene Brulhart, who said that the fight against money laundering is “a moral obligation.”

AIF authority of the Holy See and of Vatican City State was instituted by Benedict XVI on December 30, 2012 to prevent and work against money laundering from criminal activities or the financing of terrorism. It is headed over by Cardinal Attilio Nicora.

The statistics and tendencies beginning in 2012 are encouraging and indicate that the system is constantly improving,” AIF’s director said.

The report indicates concretely that “AIF communicated the receipt of six notifications of suspicious operations, as compared to only one received the previous year.” Therefore, “AIF sent two reports to the Vatican Promoter of Justice for further investigation.”

Another step forward, in addition to those that received a ”largely agreed” statement from the European Union’s Moneyval Commission, is that a systematic investigation and analysis began in 2012 of the flow of transactions of the entities under supervision.

Brulhart stressed the effort that is being made “to counteract effectively any possible abuse of the financial system,” adding that “we have initiated a close and constructive interaction with the Secretariat of State, the Gendarmerie, the Promoter of Justice and the institutions that are under our supervision, in order to improve our knowledge and security and to guarantee a coordinated internal cooperation to prevent and combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.”

Responding to journalists’ questions, AIF’s director said that the monitoring of IOR’s account “is underway,” to see if there are cases of money laundering and dirty money, whose results will be made known in the forthcoming months.

The report presented also includes different graphics and indicates the progress achieved in international cooperation, thus reiterating “the Holy See’s firm commitment to be a credible ally in the international fight against money laundering.”

In addition, the report states that in 2012, a memorandum of understanding was signed with the competent authorities of Belgium and Spain. And it does not end here, said Brulhart, because “our policy in 2013 will continue to be the strengthening of international cooperation through the signing of other memoranda of understanding with several countries and relevant jurisdictions.”

Foreseen for 2013, states the dossier, is, the strengthening of the system of prevention and fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism, by implementing the recommendations of Moneyval.

In the report’s introduction, mention is made of the fact that in the last few years the Holy See and Vatican City have intensified their commitment to the fight against money laundering, to be an effective partner at the global level.

“This is due, above all, to an act of coherence and to a mission on the moral plain, so that the integrity and stability of the economy are not simple ends but means at the service of the person and of peoples,” continues the document.

Brulhart acknowledges that “the future challenges for the Holy See and Vatican City, as well as for the whole international community, are many and call for perseverance.”

The report recalls that Vatican City State has no free market or private financial institutions or operators. The activities are carried out in an institutional environment and supervised by AIF.

“IOR is not a commercial bank and the Vatican is not a fiscal paradise,” said AIF’s director. “The Holy See is a credible partner in the international fight against money laundering,” he reiterated.