Vatican City, 29 May 2015 (VIS) – The Autorità di Informazione Finanziaria (AIF) – Financial Intelligence Authority – of the Holy See and the Vatican City State has presented its Annual Report for 2014. The report reviews the activities and statistics of the AIF for the year 2014.
2014 has seen a continuous strengthening of the legal and institutional framework of the Holy See and the Vatican City State to regulate supervised entities, fostering international cooperation of the Vatican competent authority with its foreign counterparts and to consolidate the prevention and countering of potential illicit financial activities.
“With the introduction of Regulation No. 1, we have completed the prudential supervisory framework of the Holy See and Vatican City State,” said Rene Bruelhart, President of AIF. “By signing Memoranda of Understandings (MOUs) with other Financial Intelligence Units of 13 countries, including Australia, France and the UK as well as with the Regulators of Germany, Luxembourg and the United States of America, we have also massively strengthened international cooperation.”
The reporting system has been consolidated after having received 6 suspicious transaction reports (STR) in 2012, 202 in 2013 and 147 in 2014. Such development is a consequence both of the full implementation of the legal framework and of the substantial improvement in the operational performance of the supervised entities with regard to the prevention of financial crime. 7 reports have been passed on to the Vatican Promoter of Justice for further investigation by judicial authorities. The number of cases of bilateral cooperation between AIF and foreign competent authorities has increased from 4 in 2012 to 81 in 2013 and 113 in 2014. “This continuous increase is a result of the systematic efforts undertaken by AIF as well as the strong commitment of the Holy See and the Vatican City State to cooperate actively with other jurisdictions to prevent and combat potential illicit financial activities globally,” said Tommaso di Ruzza, Director of AIF.
Since 2012, the number of declarations of outgoing cash above the amount of EUR 10,000 has steadily decreased from 1,782 (2012) to 1,557 (2013) and 1,111 in 2014. Declarations for incoming cash have also decreased from 598 (2012) to 550 (2013) and 429 in 2014. This is due to an increased monitoring by the competent authorities and the introduction of reinforced procedures at the supervised entities.
In the initial trimester of 2014, AIF conducted the first ordinary on-site inspection of the IOR to verify the implementation of the measures taken to prevent and counter money laundering and the financing of terrorism pursuant to Law No. XVIII of 8 October 2013. “The first on-site inspection of the IOR is an important consequence and a concrete sign of the effectiveness of the AML/CFT system adopted by the Holy See and the Vatican City State”, said Tommaso Di Ruzza. “To follow closely the implementation of and compliance with the new prudential regulatory framework by the supervised entities will be one of the key tasks of AIF in the near future”.
The inspection has shown no fundamental shortcomings at the IOR. As a result of the inspection, AIF has developed an action plan for the full and systematic adjustment of existing procedures to the required standards in accordance with Law No. XVIII.
Information on the AIF
The Financial Intelligence Authority is the competent authority of the Holy See and the Vatican City State for supervision and financial intelligence for the prevention and countering of money-laundering and financing of terrorism.
Established by Pope Benedict XVI with the Apostolic Letter in form of Motu Proprio of 30 December 2010, AIF carries out its institutional activity according to the Statute adopted by Pope Francis on 15 November 2013 and to Vatican City State Law No. XVIII, of 8 October 2013, on transparency, supervision and financial intelligence.
In 2014, AIF signed MOUs with Argentina, Australia, Cyprus, France, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Peru, Poland, United Kingdom, Romania, San Marino and Switzerland. In previous years, AIF had already signed MOUs with Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain and the United States of America. AIF is a member of the Egmont Group since 2013.