ROME, July 4 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
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)