Anti-money laundering: Vatican’s new openness


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In a sign of the times related to BSA/AML efforts not only in the U.S. but the world, the Vatican in early April signed an agreement with Italy to share financial information. The agreement is part of the Vatican’s effort to transition away from banking secrecy and toward a more transparent style to the Vatican’s banking enterprises.

Accusations of money laundering and tax-evasion schemes have long plagued the Vatican bank, and Pope Francis has made the transformation of banking operations one of his primary goals. In addition to negotiating information sharing agreements, a New York Times report noted that the bank had blocked the accounts of nearly 2,000 customers and had terminated some 3,000 customer relationships.

International cooperation in the sharing of information and the regulation of financial institutions has gained momentum, not only to stem the tide of criminals and terrorists manipulating the international financial system but also to address tax-collection issues and comply with economic sanctions imposed by governments.

AML Partners’ CEO Frank Cummings said this cooperation is accelerating international compliance efforts for anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing measures. He said it’s important for compliance solutions to include features that can accommodate this fast-changing and internationalized environment.

 SURETY-CDD, the customer due diligence and know-your-customer solution from AML Partners, for example in its newest release will provide for full customization of language labeling. There will also be a dynamic workflow—steps may be added or withdrawn, roles may be added, processes may be added or removed. And there will be an extraordinarily dynamic question management system to accommodate any requirements specific to a nation’s laws or an institution’s requirements—all while maintaining the comprehensive standards of a complete customer due diligence program.

This type of flexibility, dynamism, and adaptability in BSA/AML approaches will be central to the growing international commitment to curtailing money laundering, tax evasion, and terrorist financing, Cummings said.