Vatican Seeks Clarification And Review
Major watchdogs in Australia’s finance have dramatically reduced the sum of money it was sent from the Vatican to Australia. This was according to the Vatican after an earlier report cited a huge figure that raised suspicions of money laundering.
As per the joint Vatican-Australian review showed only $9.5 million was transited between 2014 and 2020, a fraction of $2.3 billion originally reported by the watchdog which sparked surprise.
The Vatican contested the huge figures in December and asked the Australian financial intelligence unit, known as AUSTRAC, to review its calculations.
With that, some media raised speculations that the Vatican could have been used to launder money.
This error by AUSTRAC was first reported by The Australian newspaper, which explained it was due to a computer coding mistake.
Meanwhile, the Vatican statement called the mistake “a huge discrepancy”. It said the $9.5 million sent to Australia was mostly to meet “contractual obligations” as well as “ordinary management”. This seemed to be a reference to its embassy in Australia.
As per the Vatican, the original report of the staggering amount of money and more than 47,000 individual fund transfers had appeared to be like “science fiction”, provided that fact that the Holy See’s annual budget is about 330 million euros. Hence, they demanded a review.
AUSTRAC had told the Australian newspaper the new calculations showed there had been only 362 transfers in that period.
Amid that, Vatican’s treasurer from 2014 to 2017, Cardinal George Pell, told media “I was relieved to hear that billions were not laundered through the Vatican while I was head of the Secretariat for the Economy”.
Last month, Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane said that the Australian Church was not made aware of such transfers and that the bishops yearn for an explanation from the Vatican and AUSTRAC regarding the matter.
(Image source: Yahoo)