Europe’s Vatican finance report to laud reform, call for more action
A European report on efforts by the Vatican to embrace financial transparency after a series of scandals involving its bank will laud recent reforms but also underscore what remains to be done to reach international standards in all areas.
According to people familiar with the still-secret report, due to be issued on Wednesday by a department of the Council of Europe, the eagerly anticipated evaluation will give the Vatican an overall passing grade in key areas but criticise others.
The report is by Moneyval, “The Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism”, which is the Council’s monitoring mechanism that ensures that member states comply with international financial standards.
The external evaluation and recommendations are a milestone for the Vatican, which has been trying to shed its image as a suspect financial centre since 1982, when Roberto Calvi, an Italian known as “God’s Banker” because of his links to the Vatican, died under mysterious circumstances.
It comes less than two months after the former president of the Vatican bank, officially known as the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), was ousted in a dramatic boardroom showdown over the running of the bank, which Italian magistrates are still investigating over money laundering charges the Vatican denies.
The rigorous evaluation, which the Vatican requested several years ago, is made up of 49 recommendations, many interrelated, each rated according to levels of compliance: non-compliant, partially compliant, largely compliant, or compliant.
Essentially, compliant and largely compliant are “pass” grades and partially compliant and non-compliant are “fail” grades indicating more work has to be done in a specific areas.
Sixteen of the 49 recommendations are known as “key and core”, and include subjects such as criminalisation of money laundering, confiscation of laundered property, customer due diligence and suspicious transaction reporting.
The Vatican is expected to pass on about nine and receive around seven “partially compliant” or “non-compliant” marks, something which one source said was “good news” considering that it only enacted its financial reform legislation less than three years ago. [More]