VATICAN CITY – A European report on the Vatican’s efforts to meet international standards of financial transparency states that significant improvement has been seen in the last three years. However, 7 of the “key and essential” areas are still kept in the dark according to sources familiar with the report.
The headquarters of the Catholic Church has been long beset by scandals involving its only bank. But now, Vatican seeks to be included in a so-called “white list” of countries taking appropriate measures to combat money laundering, tax evasion, and other financial crimes .
The report, which is set to be released Wednesday, does not reach a conclusive judgment, but is expected to show some progress.
The document was prepared by MONEYVAL, the Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism. The organization has a system that allows them to monitor the 47-nation Council of Europe, which ensures that Member States comply with the international standards.
MONEYVAL does not have a “white list” but provides information that could be used eventually by other organizations like the Group of Financial Action Task Force to determine if the Vatican is in a “black” or “gray” country.
Vatican officials say they are determined to do whatever it takes to be part of the white list.
The Vatican has tried to change its image as a suspect financial center since 1982, when Roberto Calvi, an Italian known as “God’s Banker” for his ties to the Curia, was found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge in London.
Italian magistrates are now investigating the Vatican Bank, officially known as the Institute for Religious Works, whose leader was ousted in a dramatic confrontation of the Board in May.
MONEYVAL assessment, which has been requested by the Vatican for years, ranks each country according to 49 recommendations. 16 of which are considered “key and essential.”
It covers key areas such as the criminalization of money laundering, confiscation of property for money laundering, due diligence on consumers and the reporting of suspicious transactions.
Familiar sources said the Vatican would be rated “compliant” or “largely compliant” in nine of 16 categories, and “partially compliant” or “nonconforming” in the other seven.