Vatican City

The Vatican said on Wednesday it will separate its bank's investment business from its Church payments work to try to clean up after years of scandal including allegations of money laundering and tax evasion, Reuters reported. French businessman Jean-Baptiste de Franssu was named as the new head of the bank, officially known as the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), succeeding German lawyer Ernst Von Freyberg, who has run the bank since February 2013.
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The Vatican bank has blocked the accounts of more than 2,000 clients and ended some 3,000 “customer relationships” as part of a clean-up process that nearly wiped out its profit, its 2013 financial statement showed today, the Irish Times reported. The bank has been hit by years of scandal, including money laundering allegations and is about to be restructured with a new president and a new board. All but about 400 of the 3,000 terminated accounts were “dormant” with small balances and had been inactive for years.
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The regulator overseeing the Vatican's troublesome financial institutions said on Monday there has been considerable improvement in transparency and the prevention of money laundering, but that more progress was needed, The Wall Street Journal reported. The Holy See, pushed by Pope Francis and his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI, has introduced rules to meet international standards and end practices at its financial institutions, including the Vatican bank, that people both within and outside the church bureaucracy have described as opaque.
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