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Francis replaces financial watchdog head in latest shake-up

Nicora swapped with Corbellini, ally to VatiLeaks whistle-blower

30 January, 17:35
Francis replaces financial watchdog head in latest shake-up (ANSA) - Vatican City, January 30 - The Vatican on Thursday said that Pope Francis has replaced the head of the financial watchdog agency launched under his predecessor Benedict XVI. In his latest move to polish the Vatican's image amid money scandals, a statement said the Argentine pontiff "has accepted the request" of Cardinal Attilio Nicora "to be removed from his role" as president of the Financial Information Authority (AIF), the agency launched under Benedict in 2011 to fight money laundering.

To replace him, Francis has nominated Bishop Giorgio Corbellini, who will maintain his role as chief of the Vatican's labour office and head of the disciplinary committee of the Vatican bureaucracy, the Roman Curia Vatican watchers said the shake-up reflects a shift towards reform, in keeping with the pontiff's efforts to clean up the marred reputation of the Vatican's financial dealings since ascending the papal throne last March. Corbellini served for nearly 20 years at the Vatican City State government under Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, ex-No.2 at the City State and current papal ambassador to the U.S.

Seen as reform-minded, Viganò accused officials of corruption in letters sent to Benedict, which surfaced publicly in the VatiLeaks scandal that preceded the German pontiff's abdication in 2013. The reshuffle echoes Francis' move two weeks ago at the Vatican bank, replacing four members of a five-cardinal oversight committee. Former secretary of state Tarcisio Bertone was among those ousted after less than a year into the start of their five-year mandate started under Benedict. Much of the damage to the image of the Vatican bank, officially known as the Institute of Religious Works (IOR), happened under Bertone's command, when it came under scrutiny for allegedly not doing enough to prevent money laundering. Vatican administrators have since made significant progress, according to the Council of Europe's Moneyval agency.