Vatican watchdog reports steep rise in suspicious transactions

Monitoring is working

The Vatican’s financial watchdog has reported a steep rise in reports of suspicious transactions, from six in 2002 to 202 last year, reports the Catholic News Service in The Catholic Herald.

Rene Brulhart, director of the office that monitors and investigates Vatican financial transactions to prevent their use for money laundering or the financing of terrorism, said 'It means the reporting system is working.'

Mr Brulhart presented the 2013 annual report of the Vatican Financial Intelligence Authority during a news conference yesterday.

The number of suspicious transaction reports filed grew from six in 2012 to 202 in 2013, Mr Brulhart told reporters. He said the majority of these involved transactions carried out through the Institute for the Works of Religion, commonly known as the Vatican bank.

After investigations by his office, Mr Brulhart said, five of the reports were deemed worthy of further investigation and possible criminal charges and, therefore, handed over to the judicial offices of Vatican City State. He said he could not talk about the current status of those cases since they are now in the hands of the Vatican police and court system.

New Vatican finance laws and regulations issued by the Financial Intelligence Authority have 'put the threshold quite low' for what triggers an obligation on the part of Vatican offices to file suspicious transaction reports, he said.

FULL COVERAGE

Steep rise in suspicious transactions reported by Vatican (The Catholic Herald)

Vatican Financial Authority boosts checks after suspicious transactions soar from 6 to 202 (Vatican Insider)

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