The Annual Report of the Vatican’s Financial Information Authority (AIF) for the year 2017, was presented to the press today, Friday, April 27, 2018 during a press conference at the Holy See Press Office by Rene Brulhart, president of AIF, and Tommaso Di Ruzza, its director.
The Annual Report covers the activity of information and financial surveillance, both in the prudential area as well as the prevention of and fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
According to the report, 2017 confirmed robust reporting system and an effective application of the regulatory framework of the Holy See and the Vatican City State. Furthermore, AIF continued its pro-active approach to cooperate and exchange of information with its foreign counterparts to fight illicit financial activities.
“2017 has been a year of consolidation and normalization of our institutional activities,” said René Brülhart. “Consolidation of the measures taken to establish an effective regulatory framework and its full and sustainable implementation. Normalization of the reporting system, which is considered to be robust.”
The system has seen a progressive decline in the number of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs). In 2017, 150 Suspicious Activity Reports were filed with AIF in comparison to the previous year with 207 SARs.
“Such tendency is positive because in parallel the quality of the reports increased, showing a growing awareness and strengthening of the control functions of the reporting subjects,” said Tommaso Di Ruzza. In 2017, eight reports were submitted to the Vatican Office of the Promoter of Justice for further investigation by the competent law enforcement authorities.
“Considering the uniqueness of the jurisdiction, international cooperation is a key element of the activity of AIF,” reported Di Ruzza, indicating that “In 2017, AIF signed 19 Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with its counterparts in foreign jurisdictions and exchanged information in 268 cases”.
Furthermore, the regulatory framework has been further strengthened, in particular with the introduction of Regulation no. 2, which sets the rules in regard of the data and information accompanying transfers of funds and the technical requirement for credit transfers and direct debits in Euro.
AIF was founded by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010 to guarantee more transparency and the adjustment of the Vatican’s criteria, notably those of Moneyval in Europe. AIF carries out its institutional activities in accordance with its new Statute introduced by Pope Francis with a Motu Proprio of Nov. 15, 2013 and Law No. XVIII of Oct. 8, 2013.
The Financial Information Authority is the competent authority of the Holy See and Vatican City State for supervision and financial intelligence for the prevention and countering of money laundering and financing of terrorism as well as prudential supervision.
AIF has signed MOUs with supervisory Authorities and Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) in Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Cyprus, Ecuador, Estonia, France, Germany, Ghana, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Hungary, India, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan (Republic of China), United Kingdom and the United States of America.
AIF has been a member of the Egmont Group since 2013.
The Executive Council of this institution, charged with fighting against money laundering and the financing of terrorism, was renewed in June 2015 with four appointments: Swiss Marc Odendall, Administrator of Foundations and Financial Consultant in the Philanthropic Sector; Joseph Yuvaraj Pillay, President of the Council of Advisers of the President of the Republic of Singapore; Juan C. Zarate, of the United States, Adviser to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and Professor of Law at Harvard University, and Italian Maria Bianca Farina, delegate of the Poste Vita and Poste Assicura insurance companies.