Pope Appoints Multinational Members to Body Monitoring Vatican Finances

New Appointees Replace All-Italian Panel

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Pope Francis has appointed a group of multinational experts to the managing board of a body monitoring the Vatican’s financial operations, replacing an all-Italian panel.

The new members of the Financial Intelligence Authority’s managing board, named for a five-year term, are:

Juan C. Zarate, a U.S. senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and visiting lecturer at Harvard Law School. From 2005 to 2009 he served in the U.S. government as deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism;

Maria Bianca Farina, a senior Italian administrator at the Italian postal system’s investment and insurance divisions and an expert in tax audits and investment management;

Marc Odendall, a Swiss-based philanthropist and former financier who has served as chairman of the International Ethics Board of EDHEC Business School and is a board member of the Caritas in Veritate Foundation;

Joseph Yubaraj Pillay, chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers of the Republic of Singapore and of Tiger Airways Holdings who formerly served as chairman of Singapore Airlines and of the Singapore stock exchange.

The Pope has also promoted Italian Tommaso Di Ruzza, formerly a study assistant at the FIA, to be the agency’s «ad interim» vice-director. A former official at the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and a respected jurist, Di Ruzza played a major role in revising in 2012 the Vatican’s anti-money laundering law to follow international regulations.

Pope Benedict XVI established the Financial Intelligence Authority in late 2010 to monitor Vatican financial operations and ensure they met international norms against money laundering and the financing of terrorism. The authority is headed by Swiss lawyer Rene Bruelhart.

Pope Francis revised the agency’s statutes last November, dividing the body into two separate offices: supervision and regulation, and financial intelligence. The FIA was also expanded in October,  taking on the role of «preventive» vigilance, ensuring the proper organization and trustworthiness of all Vatican financial operations.

Francis thanked the departing five executive FIA members, whom Pope Benedict named in 2011.

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