Pope Francis has removed the entire board of the Vatican's financial watchdog in his latest attempt to rehabilitate the troubled Vatican bank, reports The Tablet.
Two years before they were due to step down, the five Italians heading the Financial Information Authority (AIF) have been replaced with a more international group of experts, including one woman.
The change follows reports of clashes between the board members and the body’s Swiss director, René Bruelhart, an anti-money laundering expert.
The new members are Marc Odendall, who manages and advises philanthropic organisations in Switzerland, Juan Zarate, a Harvard law professor who was a security adviser to President George Bush, Joseph Yuvaraj Pillay, former managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and Maria Bianca Farina, the head of two Italian insurance companies.
The Vatican said in a statement that Francis had thanked the 'illustrious' former members. The Holy See spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi said the changes were in line with 'an internationalisation' of the agency and were in response to the requirements of a new statute introduced last year.
Last November, the Pope set forth new responsibilities of the AIF by issuing a new statute that built the AIF on the two pillars of supervision and financial intelligence, and set out among other requirements, that key personnel of the AIF's bodies possess professional and financial skills.
The ousting of the old board comes after months of infighting at the agency.
Pope fires entire board of Vatican financial watchdog (Reuters/Yahoo7)