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July 23, 2021

Vatican cracks down on financial crimes

VATICAN CITY – The Vatican created a watchdog to supervise financial transactions and new laws against financial crimes, capping a yearlong effort by the Holy See to join other sovereign states in cracking down on money-laundering and terror financing, the Catholic News Agency reported. The measures, which come as Vatican bank officials are under investigation in an Italian money-laundering probe, are intended to improve transparency at the Holy See’s bank. “This is a very important step in a long path towards transparency and legality,” Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican’s spokesman, told reporters.

The new Authority for Financial Information will monitor all Vatican institutions, including its bank, pharmacy and supermarket, for possible crimes including terrorism financing, stock-market violations and insider trading, according to an apostolic letter published on the Vatican’s website. The Authority will be able to investigate and prosecute violators in accordance with Vatican law. Its chairman will be appointed by the pope and serve for five years, the Vatican said. Details on how the watchdog will operate and monitor transactions are still being ironed out, Lombardi said.

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