Vatican City, Nov 27, 2019 / 05:37 am
Pope Francis Wednesday appointed an auditor and Italian banking consultant as president of the Financial Information Authority (AIF), the Vatican’s internal financial watchdog.
Carmelo Barbagallo, 63, is a consultant in the areas of banking, financial supervision, and the Single Supervisory Mechanism. He was previously head of the banking and financial supervision department of the Bank of Italy.
The appointment comes as the Vatican’s financial watchdog is struggling to assert its credibility. The previous president of the AIF, René Brüelhart, resigned his position Nov. 18.
Although the Vatican press office characterized the departure as the end of “a five year term,” Brüelhart had not been appointed for a fixed period, and he made it clear he had resigned.
Shortly thereafter, Marc Odendall, a member of the AIF board, resigned as well, saying that the Egmont Group, through which 164 financial intelligence authorities share information and coordinate their work, had suspended the AIF.
Odendall told the Associated Press that the AIF had been effectively rendered “an empty shell” and that there was “no point” in remaining involved in its work.
On Oct. 1, Vatican gendarmes raided the offices of the Secretariat of State and the AIF.
Subsequently, a total of five employees and officials were suspended and blocked from entering the Vatican, including Tommaso Di Ruzza, the director of the AIF.