Pope Francis on Wednesday appointed René Bruelhart president of the Financial Information Authority, the Vatican's financial watchdog, thus opening a new phase for the authority that Bruelhart had until now directed. Bruelhart replaces Bishop Giorgio Corbellini, president of the Labour Office of the Apostolic See, as president of the FIA. Bishop Corbellini has been appointed the FIA's interim president in January. New statutes for the body were issued in November 2013, while in July the board of directors was entirely replaced by new members, in order to improve the authority's international profile — the previous board was solely composed by Italians. Carrying out the transition, Bruelhart's Nov. 19 appointment is a promotion, and an appointment for the now-vacant director's position is expected soon. Hired by the Vatican as “ad hoc” advisor for anti-money laundering efforts in 2012 and later appointed director of the authority, Bruelhart has carried forward the process of reform. Under Bruelhart’s direction, the Financial Intelligence Authority has become part of the Egmont Group (a forum which brings together the financial information units of many countries), and has signed several memoranda of understanding with its counterparts, the most important being those with the US, Germany, and Italy. The reform of the AIF's statutes followed a series of further adjustments to help bring the Vatican ever more in conformity with international financial standards, a processes begun by Benedict XVI. After the Vatican financial system received a generally positive report from the Council of Europe’s Moneyval committee in July 2012, the powers of the Financial Intelligence Authority were enhanced with two modifications to the Vatican's anti-money laundering law, and it was then given of the power of prudential supervision by the Aug. 8 2013 motu proprio “The promotion of integral human development” and by and with the October 2013 Vatican City State Law XVIII. The natural outcome of these reforms was the Financial Intelligence Authority's new statutes, which came into effect Nov. 21, 2013 and established an office for prudential supervision, outlined the powers of the board of directors, and strengthened the powers of the director. Now that the transition has been completed, Bruelhart becomes president of the authority, and leaves vacant the post of director. He will suggest his successor, and this latter will be appointed by the Secretariat of State. In the coming days, the new director will be appointed, and it seems granted that Bruelhart will indicate Tommaso Di Ruzza for his succession. At the moment, Di Ruzza is vice-director of the authority. A ‘curricula studiorum’ on international law in the universities of Rome, Oxford, and Siena, Di Ruzza has been a legal officer of the Holy See since 2005 and, since 2011, in charge of the AIF’s juridical and international issues. Di Ruzza is among the main drafters of the Holy See's enhancements on financial matters to adhere to international standards. He oversaw the negotiations regarding Moneyval and the Egmont Group, as well as the negotiations for the memoranda of understanding signed by the Financial Intelligence Authority.
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