The Council of Europe’s Moneyval evaluators issued a periodic report Friday around the Vatican’s compliance with worldwide norms to battle money washing and terrorist financing. The Vatican posted towards the Moneyval compliance process inside a bid to reduce its image like a tax haven and included in financial reforms initiated by Pope Benedict XVI.
European evaluators have recognized the Vatican’s financial watchdogs for efficiently flagging suspicious transactions but have once more faulted Vatican prosecutors for neglecting to bring anything washing cases to trial.
Within the one major situation that did proceed, the ex-president and ex-treasurer from the Vatican’s pediatric hospital were lately placed on trial on embezzlement charges for allegedly diverting donations to brighten up a cardinal’s apartment. The ex-president was charged from the lesser offense of abuse of office and given a suspended one-year sentence. The ex-treasurer was absolved.
The report stated that although Moneyval evaluators could not check the caliber of evidence presented to prosecutors, “the rate of success from the promoter (prosecutor) prior to the Tribunal to date isn’t encouraging.”
Moneyval reported the Vatican’s Financial Information Authority had flagged 69 possibly problematic transactions since 2013, leading to 27 criminal investigations being opened up.
The report repeated the primary complaint produced by Moneyval in 2015, that Vatican prosecutors were freezing assets once they received reports of suspicious transactions, but were not doing it with prosecutions.
But eight of individuals investigations were closed without charges, six ended without indictment, and never one money washing situation originates to indictment, significantly less trial.
The report noted the Vatican’s gendarmes had lately produced an economic police unit, which the prosecutors’ office had added a helper with experience prosecuting financial crimes. Moneyval stated it wished such developments would produce prosecutions when evaluators evaluate the Vatican again in 2019.