Last Friday, the Financial Intelligence Authority (AIF) of the Holy See and Vatican City State signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with its Italian counterpart, the Financial Information Unit (UIF) of the Bank of Italy, according to a memorandum published today.

The Memorandum was signed in Rome by Cardinal Attilio Nicora, President of the AIF, and Dr. Claudio Clemente, director of UIF.

According to a communique released by the Holy See Press Office, the Memorandum of Understanding is a “standard practice and formalizes the cooperation and exchange of financial information to fight money laundering and terrorist financing across borders between the competent authorities of both countries.”

“It is based on the model Memorandum of Understanding prepared by the Egmont Group, the global organization of national Financial Intelligence Units, and contains clauses on reciprocity, permitted uses of information and confidentiality,” the communique stated.

The signing of the MOU is a step forward in the Vatican’s efforts to establish transparency in financial matters. AIF director, Rene Bruelhart, stated that in doing so, the Vatican wishes to show that it takes matters concerning money laundering and terrorism funding “very seriously.”

“We look forward to continuing our work with the Italian Authorities in a constructive and fruitful manner. The Memorandum of Understanding is a clear commitment to strengthen our bilateral relationship and will facilitate the our joint efforts and fight against money laundering,” Bruelhart said.

AIF became a member of the Egmont Group in July of this year and over the last several months signed MOUs with several Financial Intelligence Units, including with the United States, Belgium, Spain, Slovenia and the Netherlands. More are expected to be signed in the course of this year.