Vatican bank reports rise in profits, says clean up on track

Europe Online
May 25, 2015

Vatican City (dpa) - The Institute for Religious Works (IOR), a scandal-plagued body that serves as the Vatican‘s bank, reported Monday a sharp rise in profits and said it was making progress on cleaning up its finances.

The IOR made a profit of 69.3 million euros (76 million dollars) in 2014, compared with 2.9 million euros the previous year, thanks to more lucrative trading in securities and a reduction in operating expenses.

The institute said it would put its profits to use by donating 55 million euros to the main budget of the Vatican and by stashing 14.3 million euros in its retained earnings reserve.

The Vatican bank also said it was making a "great effort [...] in addressing the abuse the Institute was subjected to in the past," in compliance with tougher Vatican financial supervision standards and a recently signed tax agreement between the Vatican and Italy.

Over the decades, the IOR has been accused of going well beyond its remit of assisting worldwide church operations. Accusations of wrongdoing include offering a safe money laundering haven for Italian mobsters, corrupt politicians and tax-evading entrepreneurs.

One of the reforms implemented at the IOR has been the closure of non-church related or inactive accounts. The bank said it terminated 4,614 such accounts since May 2013, shrinking its customer base to 15,181, with a further 274 in the process of being shut.

In a change from previous practice, the IOR presented its annual report via written statement rather than in a press conference.


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