The tower of the Institute for Works of Religion, often referred to as the Vatican bank, is pictured. CNS photo/Paul Haring

Vatican names new director of its financial watchdog agency

  • April 15, 2020

VATICAN CITY -- More than four months after Pope Francis named a new president for the Vatican's financial watchdog agency, the leadership roster of the agency was completed with the naming of a new director and vice director.

Giuseppe Schlitzer, a professor of international finance who has held senior posts at Italy's central bank and the International Monetary Fund, was named director of the Vatican Financial Information Authority April 15.

According to the statutes of the office, which was established by Pope Benedict XVI, the director is named by the Vatican secretary of state.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, secretary of state, also named as vice director Federico Antellini Russo, who has worked at the agency since 2015.

In late November, Pope Francis had named as president of the agency Carmelo Barbagallo, a seasoned Italian finance inspector.

Announcing the appointments of the director and vice director, the Vatican said Schlitzer succeeds "Tommaso Di Ruzza, who concluded his five-year mandate Jan. 20."

In early October, Di Ruzza's office and the offices of the Financial Information Authority were raided by Vatican police as part of an investigation into a Vatican investment in a development property in London. Di Ruzza and four other Vatican employees were temporarily suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.

Later that month, the agency's board of directors "reaffirmed its full trust" in Di Ruzza, who, the board said, was fulfilling his task of investigating suspect financial activities.

Pope Benedict established the Financial Information Authority in late 2010 to monitor Vatican financial operations and ensure they met international norms against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

In November 2013, Pope Francis revised the agency's statutes in 2013 and expanded its competence to include the task of "preventive" vigilance, which involves ensuring the proper organization and trustworthiness of all Vatican financial operations.

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