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Holy Orders: Vatican Picks Up Pace in AML Fight

Tom Fox | August 25, 2015

The scourge of money-laundering seems almost unending. In recent years it has engulfed numerous international institutions. For the past several years, even the Vatican has had to face this issue. The Church’s bank, known formally as the Institute for Religious Works (IOR) had been roundly criticized by Italian prosecutors for both its failure to carry out appropriate due diligence over its customers and its inability to track suspicious transactions. Indeed in an article in the Financial Times it was reported that the Vatican’s early efforts to fight this problem were criticized by the European Union Moneyval, its anti-money laundering monitoring body.

Those criticisms and the elevation of Pope Francis to the Papacy have led to some dramatic changes in the way the IOR does business. In late 2012, René Bruelhart joined the Vatican to help bring the IOR into modern day banking practices around anti-money laundering. As reported in the FT, “The experience of Mr....

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