(Story first filed Sunday. Repeated with no change to text)
* Wednesday report is milestone for Vatican after string of
* Vatican expected to pass more than half of "key and core"
* Progress report due in a year
By Philip Pullella
VATICAN CITY, July 15 A European report on
efforts by the Vatican to embrace financial transparency after a
series of scandals involving its bank will laud recent reforms
but also underscore what remains to be done to reach
international standards in all areas.
According to people familiar with the still-secret report,
due to be issued on Wednesday by a department of the Council of
Europe, the eagerly anticipated evaluation will give the Vatican
an overall passing grade in key areas but criticise others.
The report is by Moneyval, "The Committee of Experts on the
Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing
of Terrorism", which is the Council's monitoring mechanism that
ensures that member states comply with international financial
The external evaluation and recommendations are a milestone
for the Vatican, which has been trying to shed its image as a
suspect financial centre since 1982, when Roberto Calvi, an
Italian known as "God's Banker" because of his links to the
Vatican, died under mysterious circumstances.
It comes less than two months after the former president of
the Vatican bank, officially known as the Institute for Works of
Religion (IOR), was ousted in a dramatic boardroom showdown over
the running of the bank, which Italian magistrates are still
investigating over money laundering charges the Vatican denies.
The rigorous evaluation, which the Vatican requested several
years ago, is made up of 49 recommendations, many interrelated,
each rated according to levels of compliance: non-compliant,
partially compliant, largely compliant, or compliant.
Essentially, compliant and largely compliant are "pass"
grades and partially compliant and non-compliant are "fail"
grades indicating more work has to be done in a specific areas.
Sixteen of the 49 recommendations are known as "key and
core", and include subjects such as criminalisation of money
laundering, confiscation of laundered property, customer due
diligence and suspicious transaction reporting.
The Vatican is expected to pass on about nine and receive
around seven "partially compliant" or "non-compliant" marks,
something which one source said was "good news" considering that
it only enacted its financial reform legislation less than three
"Our intention is to be transparent and to become
increasingly more so," one Vatican official said.
It is normal for countries to receive partially compliant or
non-compliant marks on their first and even subsequent
evaluations, accompanied by suggestions on how to improve,
review of past evaluations shows.
Italy, for example, had five non-compliant or partially
compliant marks, effectively failing grades, on "key and core"
recommendations in a 2005 evaluation, years after it began the
The Moneyval report on the Vatican has a 12-page summary and
categories are sub-divided into topics such as legal systems,
preventive measures, and international cooperation.
Nine of the 49 recommendations are called "special
recommendations" that have to do specifically with the fight
against international terrorism and some of the nine are also
part of the group of 16 "key and core" ones.
They include topics such as the implementation of United
Nations instruments, the freezing of terrorist assets, and the
reporting of suspicious transactions.
The report is expected to recognise specifically the
progress the Vatican, the world's smallest state, with around
500 residents, has made notwithstanding its late entry into
Moneyval in a short period of time but also offer critical
In 2010, the Vatican drafted new financial transparency laws
and set up internal regulations to make sure its bank and all
other departments that administer the Church around the world
adhered to international standards on money laundering and
The Vatican also established an internal Financial
Information Authority (FIA) along the lines of other countries
and promised to liaise with other countries' equivalent agencies
around the world.
The Moneyval report will use direct and pointed language in
its recommendations on what must be improved.
Moneyval inspectors visited the Vatican in 2011 and 2012 and
in one year they will issue a progress report on this
Wednesday's evaluation suggestions.
VATICAN IN UNIQUE SITUATION
The Vatican is a 108-acre city-state surrounded by Rome and
is the location of the Holy See, which is recognised by more
than 170 countries as the centre of the 1.2 billion member Roman
Catholic Church with the pope as its sovereign.
Because it has less territory than some family farms and has
no real economy, it is in a unique diplomatic and financial
situation compared to other small countries or enclaves.
But its single financial institution, the IOR, has put it at
the centre of controversy and scandal for decades.
In 2010, Rome magistrates investigating money laundering
froze 23 million euros ($33 million) the IOR held in an Italian
The Vatican said at the time that its bank did nothing wrong
and was merely transferring its own funds between its own
accounts in Italy and Germany. The money was released in June
2011, but the investigation is continuing.
The Vatican says Italian magistrates apply disproportionate
attention to the Vatican, which has one financial institution,
compared to say, the Republic of San Marino, which is also a
sovereign country surrounded by Italy, but which has dozens of
Last May, the board of the IOR unanimously passed a no
confidence against Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, 67, the Italian
Gotti Tedeschi, a conservative Catholic who heads the
Italian retail unit of Spain's Banco Santander, said he
was "paying the price of transparency". But the Vatican and
board members said he was an inefficient and divisive manager.
The IOR's most infamous entanglement with scandal involved
the collapse 30 years ago of the Banco Ambrosiano, with its
lurid allegations about money-laundering, freemasons, mafiosi
and the mysterious death of Calvi, the Ambrosiano chairman.
The IOR held a stake in the Ambrosiano, then Italy's largest
private bank, and investigators alleged that it was partly
responsible for the Ambrosiano's fraudulent bankruptcy.
The IOR denied any role in the collapse but paid $250 million
to creditors in what it called a "goodwill gesture".
Several investigations have failed to determine whether
Calvi, who was found hanging under Blackfriars Bridge near
London's financial district, killed himself or was murdered.
The IOR offers financial services to religious orders of
priests and nuns, dioceses around the world, Catholic charity
groups and Vatican employees.
(Reporting By Philip Pullella; editing by Ralph Boulton)