The Vatican’s Financial Information Authority (AIF) and the Bank of Italy (BOI) have signed a co-operation agreement to increase cooperation in efforts to fight money laundering and the financing of terrorist organizations. It will end years of Italian mistrust over the operations of the Holy See's bank.
The agreement was signed by BOI Governor Ignacio Visco and Rene Bruelhart, the Vatican's top financial regulator.
“The agreement establishes an institutional channel of information exchange between the AIF and the Bank of Italy, further strengthening the bilateral cooperation between the Holy See and Italy in the common fight against illicit financial activities”; said the President of the AIF, Brülhart. “It is an important step allowing the two supervisory Authorities to monitor the relations between their supervised entities, and favoring the transparency of the activities and the stability of the financial systems, a crucial goal also considering the current European and international scenarios”; said the Director of the AIF, Di Ruzza.
The Vatican had long been criticized by financial organizations for providing a tax haven for well-connected Italians by allowing them to hold secret bank accounts.
So the agreement comes after years of financial reforms, most of them under Pope Francis, to bring the Vatican and its troubled bank up to international standards to guarantee transparency and combat money laundering. It must provide “the exchange of information in the field of financial supervision, on the basis of reciprocity.”