Vatican City, May 8, 2013 / 02:50 am
The Vatican continued its efforts to update its financial standards by signing an agreement with the United States to allow the two countries to exchange information to prevent money laundering and terrorism funding.
"This is a clear indication that the Holy See and the Vatican City State take international responsibilities to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism very seriously and that we are cooperating at the highest levels," said René Brülhart, director of the Vatican Financial Information Authority.
The Memorandum of Understanding was agreed upon with the American Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, which came into being after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
The agreement allows the two states to exchange information that will help them prevent criminal financial activity from taking place and was signed in Washington, D.C. on May 7.
The financial developments take place against the backdrop of the Vatican working to show it is making every effort to bring its financial standards up to speed.
Brülhart said that the arrangement with the U.S. demonstrates that the Vatican "is a credible partner internationally and has made a clear commitment in the exchange of information in this fight."
The Vatican has already inked deals with Belgium, Spain and Slovenia, but the U.S. agreement is clearly the most important one to date.
The Financial Information Authority is currently pursuing agreements with more than 20 other countries and it expects to finalize several of those this year.