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Pope Francis fires Vatican financial authority for fresh, new eyes; new board includes woman

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
6/6/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The previously all-Italian board is replaced by international consultants

In a gesture to break with an old guard associated with a questionable past under his predecessor, Pope Francis has dismissed the five-man board of the Vatican's financial watchdog this week. The board, composed exclusively of Italians, have been replaced four experts from Switzerland, Singapore, the United States and Italy. The new officials will serve on the board of the Financial Information Authority, or AIF, the Holy See's internal regulatory office.

Rene Bruelhart, a Swiss lawyer who heads the AIF and who has been pushing for change, has been appointed to the Vatican's financial oversight committee.

Rene Bruelhart, a Swiss lawyer who heads the AIF and who has been pushing for change, has been appointed to the Vatican's financial oversight committee.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
6/6/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Pope Francis, firings, Financial Information Authority, overseers


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - For the first time, the board will include a woman for the first time. All five outgoing members of the board were Italians who had been expected to serve five-year terms ending in 2016. All five were laymen associated with the Vatican's discredited financial old guard.

Pope Francis, which has already taken a series of steps to clean up Vatican finances, had been under pressure to replace the members of the guard. He had been asked to appoint professionals with an international background to work with Rene Bruelhart, a Swiss lawyer who heads the AIF and who has been pushing for change.

Starvation never takes a vacation --

Bruelhart, Liechtenstein's former top anti-money laundering expert, had wanted the Pope to appoint global professionals like him. "Bruelhart wanted a board he could work with and it seems the pope has come down on his side and sent the old boy network packing," a Vatican source said.
Another newcomer to the staff is Marc Odendall, who administers and advises philanthropic organizations in Switzerland and Juan C. Zarate, a Harvard law professor and senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The other two board members are Joseph Yuvaraj Pillay, former managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore and senior advisor to that country's president and Maria Bianca Farina, the head of two Italian insurance companies.

Pope Francis had organized in February a new Secretariat for the Economy which reported directly to him. He also appointed an outsider, Australian Cardinal George Pell, to head it.

The Pope removed Cardinal Attilio Nicora in January. A prelate who played a senior role in Vatican finances for more than a decade. Nicora was replaced with an archbishop with a track record of reform within the Vatican bureaucracy. The Pope also replaced four of the five cardinals in the commission that supervises the Vatican's troubled bank, known as the Institute for Works of Religion.

Ever since the arrival of Bruelhart in 2012, the AIF has been spearheading reforms to bring the Vatican in line with international standards on financial transparency and money laundering.

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