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Saturday 20 September 2014

Pope shakes up Vatican's financial watchdog board

Published 07/06/2014 | 02:30

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Pope Francis: clean up move
Pope Francis: clean up move

Pope Francis has sacked the five-man board of the Vatican's financial watchdog in the latest move to break with an old guard associated with a murky past under his predecessor.

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The Vatican said the pope named four experts from Switzerland, Singapore, the United States and Italy to replace them on the board of the Financial Information Authority (AIF), the Holy See's internal regulatory office. The new board includes a woman for the first time.

All five outgoing members were Italians who had been expected to serve five-year terms ending in 2016 and were laymen associated with the Vatican's discredited financial old guard. Reformers inside the Vatican had been pushing for the pope, who already has taken a series of steps to clean up Vatican finances, to appoint professionals with an international background to work with Rene Bruelhart, a Swiss lawyer who heads the AIF and who has been pushing for change.

Vatican sources said Bruelhart, Liechtenstein's former top anti-money laundering expert, was chafing under the old board and wanted Francis to appoint global professionals like him.

"Bruelhart wanted a board he could work with and it seems the pope has come down on his side and sent the old boy network packing," said a Vatican source.

The new AIF board includes Marc Odendall, who administers and advises philanthropic organisations, and Juan C. Zarate, a Harvard law professor and senior advisor at a think-tank based in Washington DC.

The other two board members are Joseph Yuvaraj Pillay, former managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and Maria Bianca Farina, the head of two Italian insurance companies.

Irish Independent

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