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Vatican to meet bankers next week on credit-card crisis

Electronic purchases blocked for weeks at Holy See

17 January, 17:09
Vatican to meet bankers next week on credit-card crisis (ANSA) - Rome, January 17 - Meetings next week between Italy's central bank, the Vatican and its credit-card provider could help to resolve the credit-card block that has plagued visitors and the Vatican itself for weeks.

"The parties have resumed work and in the course of next week there will be a technical meeting," a source familiar with the problem told ANSA Thursday. The meeting on January 25 between Vatican officials and Deutsche Bank has been arranged by Italy's central bank in the hope of finding a quick solution.

Since January 1, the Bank of Italy has frozen all credit-card and ATM transactions inside Vatican City over its failure to fully implement international anti-money-laundering standards.

In late December, the central bank denied Deutsche Bank Italy, the Vatican's former provider of electronic payment services, a permit because of the Vatican's shortcomings in financial controls and oversight.

The apparent tipping point that triggered the action was a Rome prosecutor's investigation of possible money laundering in 2010 at the Vatican's bank, also known as the Institute for Religious Works (IOR).

The Holy See has been trying without success to join the 'white list' of states that meet international standards on combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Last July, the Council of Europe's Moneyval department said in a report that the Holy See had made progress on financial transparency, but added that more reforms were needed.