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Pope boosts powers of Vatican financial authority after scandals

POPE FRANCIS has boosted the supervisory powers of the Vatican’s financial intelligence and anti-money laundering unit, the latest salvo in his push to turn the page on money scandals.

Under Pope Francis’s plan, the agency will be split into three parts: vigilance, rules and legal affairs, and financial information, the Vatican said in a statement on Saturday.

The changes follow a visit by inspectors of the Council of Europe’s Moneyval agency on measures to prevent money-laundering and funding terrorism. The Moneyval team is due to report on its findings in the spring.

The overhaul is part of reforms wanted by Pope Francis to ensure “transparency and reinforce controls in the economic-financial sector,” the agency’s president Carmelo Barbagallo, previously at Italy’s central bank, told Vatican media in an interview.

Francis has issued edicts to reform Vatican finances in the wake of scandals including over a London property deal involving losses of between £66 million and £150 million. His attempts, which have multiplied in the past year, have met with resistance from officials in the Curia, the bureaucracy that runs the Roman Catholic Church.

As part of the overhaul, the Pope also changed the name of the agency to the Supervisory Financial Information Authority, previously known as the Financial Information Authority. — Bloomberg

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