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Vatican finance watchdog intensifies outreach to foreign authorities


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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican's financial watchdog agency has beefed up its investigations with increased outreach to foreign authorities in a continued effort to prevent suspected money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Given the growing number of agreements it has made to share information with other foreign financial intelligence authorities and the "increasing complexity of potential money laundering schemes," the Vatican Financial Intelligence Authority (AIF) made more than 700 requests to foreign authorities in 2016 -- up from about 200 requests in 2015 and just 20 requests in 2014. The requests can be for documents, data and information deemed relevant for preventing or countering criminal activity.


"The main driver of the increase of the figures relating to the international cooperation and exchange of information is, on the one hand, the preventive and proactive approach taken by AIF at the international level and, on the other hand, the increase of counterparts, and lastly the sophisticated feature of cases ... involving several subjects and foreign jurisdictions," said the agency in its annual report for 2016.

Rene Brulhart, president of the Financial Intelligence Authority, and Tommaso Di Ruzza, its director, presented the report at a Vatican news conference May 16.

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