In a new report, the Vatican is chastised for failing to recognize that some employees may use their offices for personal gain.
According to the Associated Press, a report released Wednesday on the Vatican’s ability to investigate and prosecute financial crimes seems to overlook the prospect that officials might be abusing their positions in their offices for personal gain.
The Vatican has only prosecuted a handful of money laundering cases in the last decade, according to a study by the Council of Europe’s Moneyval monitoring committee. According to the report, the court system was only “modestly” functional, and sentences in prosecuted cases were so “minimal” that they lacked deterrence power.
According to the research, understaffing and a lack of experience were likely to blame for the difficulties in these circumstances.
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Overall, the evaluators gave the Holy See high marks, stating that it met most of the criteria, had taken steps to reform its laws, and had achieved high levels of international cooperation.
The Holy See said it appreciated the report and that it would carefully evaluate Moneyval’s suggestions as it “reaffirms its resolve to continue working toward complete compliance.”
Carmelo Barbagallo, the head of the Vatican’s financial intelligence agency, stated that few other countries obtain such high grades and that the lack of any “poor effectiveness” evaluations is a triumph.
A two-year criminal investigation into the Vatican secretariat of state’s 350 million euro ($425 million) investment in a London real estate deal has implicated a half-dozen Vatican employees and a handful of outside Italian brokers accused of defrauding the Holy See of tens of millions of euros in fees.
Although no indictments have been issued, a trial is scheduled to commence this summer, according to the source. According to the investigation, high-ranking officials in the secretariat of state, as well as Pope Francis, were aware of the arrangement and approved it, but they are not currently under investigation.
The Moneyval review finished before Francis took action to remedy one of the report’s fundamental flaws: cardinals and bishops have had near-immunities from prosecution by the Vatican tribunal.
On April 30, Francis lifted the procedural hurdles, making it clear that prosecutors simply required his permission to pursue investigations on cardinals and bishops.
Following that, the Vatican submitted to the Moneyval evaluation procedure. This is a condensed version of the information.