By Catholic News Agency's Vatican Observer, Andrea Gagliarducci

Financial appointment at Vatican signals continuity in reform, transparency

Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA.
Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA.

.- Tommaso Di Ruzza was appointed Wednesday as the new director of the Vatican’s Authority for Financial Information, filling the post left vacant Nov. 19, when the previous director, René Bruelhart, was made president of the Authority’s board of directors.

Di Ruzza's appointment indicates continuity in the advancement of financial reforms that have been carried on by the Vatican since 2009 under Benedict XVI.

A respected international juridical expert who studied at the universities of Siena, Rome, and Oxford, Di Ruzza has served as a juridical advisor to the Holy See since 2005.

After having served at the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Di Ruzza was entrusted with following the operational, juridical, and international issues of the Authority for Financial Information since its establishment in 2011.

In this capacity, Di Ruzza had a prominent role in the negotiations with the Council of Europe’s Moneyval committee regarding its 2012 evaluation of the Holy See's financial system.

Di Ruzza also negotiated in 2013 the inclusion of the Authority of Financial Information in the Egmont Group, which gathers the world's financial intelligence units, as well as the several memoranda of understanding the Authority has signed with its counterpart in several countries, the most noteworthy being those with the US, UK, Italy, and Germany.

Vatican insiders explained to CNA that Di Ruzza has been one of the main supporters of the Vatican's path toward reform and the consolidation of Holy See and Vatican City State anti- money laundering programs.

Di Ruzza’s appointment concludes the Authority's transition to a new governance.

The transition began after the new Vatican anti-money laundering law was issued in August 2013, and confirmed in October 2013 – a law that Di Ruzza had considerably contributed to drafting – and the consequent November 2013 issuance of the new statutes of the Authority for Financial Information.

The new statutes also entrusted the Authority for Financial Information with the functions of prudential supervision.

The first regulation of prudential supervision came into effect Jan. 13, and is published on the Authority’s website.

This prudential supervision is exercised over the Vatican offices that professionally handle financial activities, including the Institute for Religious Works, or 'Vatican bank'.

The new regulations introduce a legal framework in terms of organization and management of the offices.

A source who works in Vatican finances explained to CNA Jan. 21 that “the text adheres to international standards, but also fits with the Holy See's peculiar and juridical framework.”

This means – the source concluded – that “the Holy See is committed to a long term and sustainable path to fulfill international standards for financial transparency.”

Tags: Financial Information Authority

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