Report paints mixed picture of Vatican financial reforms
A European report on the Vatican’s efforts to meet international financial transparency standards will recognize progress over the past three years but still give it a failing grade in seven of 16 “key and core” areas, sources familiar with the report say.
The seat of the Catholic Church, long beset by scandals involving its only bank, is trying to win inclusion in a so-called “white list” of countries that take adequate steps to fight money laundering, tax evasion and other financial crimes.
The report, to be published on Wednesday, will not reach a conclusive judgment, but is expected to show that some progress has been made but more must still be achieved over the course of a reform effort expected to take years.
The report is by Moneyval, “The Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism”, a monitoring mechanism of the 47-nation Council of Europe that ensures that member states comply with international financial standards.
Moneyval does not maintain a “white list”, but supplies information which could eventually be used by other organizations, such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), to determine whether the Vatican belongs on a “black” or “grey” list of countries that fail to measure up.
Any such decision is at least a year away, and would depend on a follow-up evaluation of how well the Vatican implements recommendations in Wednesday’s report.
Vatican officials say they are determined to do everything necessary to make the white list.
The Vatican has been trying to shed its image as a suspect financial center since 1982, when Roberto Calvi, an Italian known as “God’s Banker” because of his links to the Vatican, was found hanging from London’s Blackfriars Bridge.
Italian magistrates are now investigating the Vatican’s own bank, officially known as the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), the head of which was ousted in a dramatic boardroom showdown in May.
The Moneyval evaluation, which the Vatican requested several years ago, grades a country against 49 recommendations, of which 16 are deemed “key and core”. [more]