According to the report, none of the activities or transactions reported in 2017 were related to terrorism.
Since 2015, the AIF has presented some 54 reports to the Promoter of Justice. When asked why there has not been a higher number of cases prosecuted in the Vatican courts, which in the past has been identified as an area of weakness, Bruelhart said it will take time to adequately develop the system put into place, and is up to the Promoter of Justice to determine how to act on reports submitted by the AIF.
It is unclear how many of the 54 transactions flagged and sent to the Promoter of Justice have been looked into or investigated. However, "it's important to remember where we're coming form," Bruelhart said, noting that the current system has been built only within the past 5-6 years, and new entities have been established, including the secretariat and council for the economy.
"It has been a new world" for the Promoter of Justice, he said, adding that in his view, the chain of activities that has taken place "has moved in the right direction" and "a lot of progress" has been made.
Noting how the first conviction took place just last year, he said "work is ongoing" in this area, and he expects to see more progress in the future.
"There is a very good dialogue with the office of the promoter of justice," he said, adding that "it's about building a dialogue together," but ultimately the office is the only one responsible for what they decide to do.
Responding to criticism that the Vatican's financial reform has made little progress, Bruelhart pointed to all the steps that have been taken so far in the past six years, saying if each of them are broken down, one can see that "a lot has been done in a very very short amount of time."
Change, he said, takes time and at times one needs to take a step back to fully appreciate the progress and continue to go forward. "Its a process, but there is life in this process," he said.
In addition, the AIF in 2017 also cracked down on transparency and accountability for donations made for institutional and charitable purposes, as well as interactions with what they have dubbed "high risk states" which do not have proper monitoring systems in place.
The crack down on transactions for charity and donations comes after a law was introduced Nov. 22, 2017, on the "Registration and Supervision of Non-Profit Organizations."
The AIF also signed an additional 19 Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with foreign counterparts, bringing the bringing the number to 57, and exchanged information in some 282 cases.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
In an April 27 press release on the AIF report, Di Ruzza stressed the importance of these relations, saying that "considering the potential risks linked to the universal projection of the Holy See, international cooperation is pivotal."
These type of cross-border agreements are designed to crack down on money laundering and tax evasion, ensuring that the IOR does not become a tax haven.