Vatican joins global network against money laundering

The Vatican on Wednesday said it had joined a global network of government agencies fighting against money laundering, as part of its efforts to reform its scandal-ridden finances.

The move was a recognition of the Vatican's "systematic efforts in tracking and fighting money laundering," said Rene Bruelhart, head of the Vatican's Financial Intelligence Authority.

The Vatican said in a statement that the Egmont Group, which consists of more than 130 national financial intelligence units, had announced the move at a meeting in South Africa.

Membership of the network "facilitates the exchange of information in the fight against financial crime," the statement said.

The Vatican is undertaking reforms in a bid to be included on a "white list" of countries combating money laundering compiled by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The Vatican bank, the Institute for Religious Works, is at the centre of a wide-ranging enquiry by Italian financial police and its director general and his deputy resigned this week.