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Overhaul for Vatican financial watchdog

THE Pope revamped the Vatican’s financial watchdog at the weekend to establish “supervision aimed at the prevention and countering of money laundering and the financing of terrorism.”

The move follows the disgrace of ex-cardinal Angelo Becciu on corruption charges and a scandal over a multimillion London property investment that led to the suspension last year of five Vatican employees, the resignation of its police chief and the exit of the former director of its Financial Information Authority.

The deal-broker Gianluigi Torzi has been arrested and faces charges of extortion, embezzlement, aggravated fraud and money-laundering in the £160 million deal, which was paid for with money donated by ordinary churchgoers.

Pope Francis has appointed former Italian central bank official Carmallo Barbagallo to lead the clean-up act and added that he also wanted the new office to ensure Church funds were not used “for the proliferation of the arms of mass destruction.”

Like the Anglican Church, the Vatican has been accused of profiting from investments in armaments companies.

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