The Financial Intelligence Authority, the Vatican’s financial watchdog, has agreed to exchange information with the U.S. government, significantly strengthening international cooperation on financial concerns. René Bruelhart, director of the financial authority, said the agreement is “a further step in Holy See efforts towards perfecting a system of financial regulation and part of our commitment to transparency and international cooperation.” “The Holy See is part of the global family of well-regulated jurisdictions and the signing of this agreement reflects that very clearly,” Bruelhart said. The agreement with the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is the first that the financial authority signs in its capacity of financial supervisor and regulator within the Holy See and the Vatican City State. The Financial Intelligence Authority was established in 2010 and became operational in 2011. It was tasked with supervisory and regulatory action in a law issued Oct. 8, 2013 and through the issuance of its new statutes in November 2013. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is an independent bureau within the U.S. Department of the Treasury. It serves to charter, regulate and supervise all national banks and the federal branches and agencies of foreign banks in the United States, its website states. The Holy See Press Office said that following the agreement with the U.S. currency comptroller, the Financial Intelligence Authority “expects further bilateral agreements with financial supervisors and regulators of other countries to follow in due course, and continues in its efforts to strengthen its own regulatory infrastructure in fostering international cooperation.” The Authority for Financial Information has already signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, an agency of the U.S. treasury department. The network collects and analyzes information about financial transactions in order to combat domestic and international money laundering, the financing of terrorism and other financial crimes. The agreement with the network, together with more than a dozen other memoranda of understanding signed by the Authority for Financial Information to date, aims to create unified work in financial intelligence. The Financial Intelligence Authority in July 2013 also joined the Egmont Group, an international forum that gathers together financial information units from all over the world.
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