Apr 16, 2020
The appointment of a new director of the Vatican Financial Intelligence Authority (AIF) moves the Vatican path toward financial transparency toward a fourth season.
Giuseppe Schlitzer, the new director of the Vatican financial monitoring outfit. Schlitzer replaces Tommaso Di Ruzza, who served as director from 2015 to 2020 and worled in the AIF ranks since 2011, coming from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
Di Ruzza's mandate expired on Jan. 20 and was not renewed. Di Ruzza was suspended from service in November of last year, following an investigation into the purchase of luxury real estate in London by the Secretariat of State.
Along with Giuseppe Schlitzer, the AIF got a deputy director, Federico Antellini Russo. If the appointment of Schlitzer from outside the Vatican ranks might give the impression the Vatican authorities have felt the need for change and fresh blood, the appointment of Antellini Russo says that the Holy See wants to preserve the work done until now. Antellini Russo has been working with the AIF since 2015. He is an insider, he knows how the job has been done, and he will be able to support the new director in keeping with Di Ruzza.
On his side, Tommaso Di Ruzza said hethanks the Holy Father, “who allowed me to serve the Holy See. During these years, the AIF worked at its best to build a sound and internationally credible anti-money laundering system. It was my commitment and service on both technical and moral level.”
The new director, Schlitzer, studied Economics at the Federico II University in Naples and had advanced training in the United States at the University of Chicago and George Washington University. He worked for the Bank of Italy, the International Monetary Fund, and the Italian Industrial Union. He is the vice president of the International Jacques Maritain Institute.
Federico Antellini Russo graduated with a degree in Political Economics from the prestigious LUISS university in Rome. From 2008 to 2013, he worked in research and development area at the Consip, a joint-stock company held by the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance. From 2013 to 2015, he worked in the research and studies service of the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti – an Italian investment fund – 83 percent of which is owned by the Italian Ministry for Economy and Finances.
With Schlitzer and Antellini Russo's appointments, then, the top ranks of the Financial Intelligence Authority are complete. Pope Francis had already appointed Carmelo Barbagallo as the AIF president after he decided not to renew the mandate of René Bruelhart, who served as president from 2014 to 2019.