Money Laundering: The Vatican’s Good Rating

Source: FSSPX News

The Holy See has greatly improved its measures to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism: this is the conclusion of the most recent report published by Moneyval which ranks the Vatican among the group of five States that satisfy such a degree of transparency. It is the result of efforts undertaken since the last years of Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate.

The Council of Europe defines Moneyval as “a permanent monitoring body of the Council of Europe entrusted with the task of assessing compliance with the principal international standards to counter money laundering and the financing of terrorism.” Each assessment criterion of the expert committee is noted: largely compliant, compliant, partially compliant, noncompliant.

This body was created in 1997 to transpose into Europe the American methods called “compliance”: “firstly resulting from the regulation of financial markets and the control of operators such as telecoms, compliance strives to preserve the systems anticipating the risks posed by companies,” the newspaper Le Monde explains.

The French daily continues: “These organizational methods of anticipation where risk management rests a priori on the operator rather than a posteriori on its controller now extends to all fields of activity.”

ACI Stampa describes the outcome of Moneyval’s latest follow-up report, published in May 2024: “out of 39 applicable assessment criteria, the Holy See receives the grade compliant or largely compliant on 35 points and partially compliant on four recommendations.”

And Moneyval expressed satisfaction in its press release, cited by ACI Stampa: “The result of the regular follow-up report is largely positive, testifying to the joint work of all the authorities of the jurisdiction, and in continuity with the process of financial transparency in which the Holy See and the Vatican City State are engaged.”

It should also be noted that only five countries in the world—including the Vatican—can boast of satisfying this degree of transparency in matters of money laundering, which shows the work that has been accomplished over nearly 15 years by the Holy See on the matter.

This desire for transparency is due to Benedict XVI, La Croix notes: on December 30, 2010, he “signed a motu proprio to integrate ‘all organizations affiliated with the government of the Catholic Church into the system of rules and legal instruments that the international community implements to guarantee honest and just coexistence’. A Financial Information Authority was then created, with extensive powers.”

On April 6, 2011, by request of the Holy See, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted a resolution approving a request for participation in the Moneyval evaluation process with immediate effect.

The committee of experts “does not then limit itself to asking for improvements on such or such point. It is a total overhaul of legal and financial systems that the organization is taking on, provoking a severe internal confrontation at the Vatican,” La Croix relates, a confrontation in which certain commentators see the cause of the German Pope’s abdication from the papacy.

It must be said that the Holy See “has always appeared,” unlike Protestant states, “as the polar opposite of this Anglo-Saxon culture of self-regulation of the business world,” Le Monde notes. Pope Francis, in his encyclical Fratelli tutti, even denounces the limits, indeed the abuses. Which does not prevent the Argentine Pontiff from following the line of his predecessor: as the years have gone by, all the compliance mechanisms have been successively adopted at the Vatican.