Vatican receives money-laundering report

ROME, July 4 Thu Jul 5, 2012 1:03am IST

ROME, July 4 (Reuters) - A European body that monitors money-laundering handed over a report to the Vatican on Wednesday which the Holy See hopes will help it shore up the reputation of its bank in the wake of an investigation by Italian magistrates.

Moneyval, the Council of Europe department that evaluates how effectively member states are fighting money-laundering, will give the Vatican one month to respond to the report before it is made public.

The Vatican has been trying to join a so-called "white list" of states that comply with Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development standards on financial transparency. The Moneyval report, based on consultations and meetings with inspectors, is expected to be a key step along the way.

The Vatican bank, formally known as the Institute for Works of Religion, has been in turmoil since May 24 when its president Ettore Gotti Tedeschi was dismissed by the board, which said he was an ineffective and divisive manager.

Both Gotti Tedeschi and Paolo Cipriani, director-general of the bank, are under investigation by Rome magistrates who in 2010 froze 23 million euros ($33 million) the Vatican bank held in two Italian banks.

The Vatican bank says it did nothing wrong and had merely been carrying out "normal operations" by transferring its own funds between its own accounts in Italy and Germany. The money was released in June 2011, but the investigation is continuing.

A search for Gotti Tedeschi's replacement is currently under way but no appointment is expected until after the summer. (Reporting by James Mackenzie; editing by Andrew Roche)

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