Philip Pullella and Lisa Jucca
March 20, 2012
VATICAN CITY/MILAN, March 19 (Reuters) – JP Morgan Chase is closing the Vatican bank’s account with an Italian branch of the U.S. banking giant because of concerns about a lack of transparency at the Holy See’s financial institution, Italian newspapers reported.
The move is a blow to the Vatican’s drive to have its bank included in Europe’s “white list” of states that comply with international standards against tax fraud and money-laundering.
The bank, formally known as the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), enacted major reforms last year in an attempt to get Europe’s seal of approval and put behind it scandals that have included accusations of money laundering and fraud.
… The financial newspaper, which gave the number of the IOR account, said some 1.5 billion euros passed through it in about 18 months. It said the account was a “sweeping facility,” meaning that it was emptied out at the end of each day with funds transferred to another IOR account in Germany.