Suspicious transactions have dropped considerably at the Vatican thanks to tighter monitoring, the Vatican’s financial watchdog said on Friday.
The Financial Intelligence Authority said it received 150 suspicious activities reports in 2017, down from 207 in 2016 and a peak of 544 in 2015.
“Reports are falling partly because clean up action at the Institute of Religious Works, involving the closure of thousands of dodgy accounts has been finalised,’’ the AIF suggested.
Known as the Vatican’s bank, the IOR has tried in recent years to shed its decades-long reputation as a financial haven for mobsters, money launderers and tax cheats.
The AIF also said it passed on eight suspicious cases to Vatican prosecutors for possible criminal investigations, down from 24 in 2016 and 22 in 2015.
In December, the Council of Europe’s Moneyval committee rapped the Vatican for failing to secure enough prosecutions and convictions for financial crimes.
In response, AIF President Rene Bruelhart noted that one case previously flagged by his office did lead in 2017 to a criminal conviction by a Vatican court.
He did not go into details, but his was a clear reference to the former head of the Vatican’s children hospital Bambino Gesu, who was handed in October a one-year suspended sentence for abuse of office.
The manager, Giuseppe Profiti, stood accused of misusing 420,000 Euros (507,700 dollars) of hospital money to renovate a luxury apartment for a retired top-level cardinal, Tarcisio Bertone.