The Vatican announced Monday that René Brüelhart, president of the Vatican’s Financial Information Authority (AIF) has ended a five-year term and Pope Francis has chosen his successor.
Brüelhart told Reuters Nov. 18, that he resigned from the position, which has no official term limits.
According to the statement from the Holy See press office Nov. 18, Brüelhart’s successor will be announced after the conclusion of Pope Francis’ trip to Thailand and Japan Nov. 20-26.
The delay in the nomination is “necessary for the respect of previous official commitments of the person concerned and the resolution of some internal procedures of the Holy See,” Holy See press office director, Matteo Bruni, said in a separate statement.
The AIF was established by Benedict XVI in 2010 to oversee suspicious financial transactions; it is charged with ensuring that Vatican banking policies comply with international financial standards.
Brüelhart, 47, is a Swiss lawyer. Pope Francis named him the first lay president of the board of directors of the AIF on Nov. 19, 2014. He had served as director of the AIF since 2012.
The person designated by Pope Francis to be the next president of AIF is “a figure of high professional profile and accredited competence at an international level,” the Vatican statement reports.
“In this way the continuity of the institutional action of the AIF is ensured in this moment of particular commitments at an internal and international level,” it continued.
The AIF works alongside other financial entities in the Vatican, including the Secretariat for the Economy and the Council for the Economy, both of which were established by Pope Francis as part of his ongoing reform of the Roman Curia.
The authority’s 2019 report, released May 21, stated that they continue to catch cases of fraud involving the Vatican City State’s financial institutions, including a case of money laundering.
The report showed that there were 56 Suspicious Activity Reports filed with the AIF in 2018, down from 150 in 2017. SARs filed over the last three years have led the AIF to investigate cases of money laundering and financial fraud within Vatican financial entities.
The AIF’s director, Tomasso Di Ruzza, was cleared of any wrongdoing and reinstated to his position Oct. 23, after he had been among five Vatican employees suspended after an Oct. 1 raid of offices within the Vatican’s Secretariat of State and AIF.
The Vatican’s Secretary of State is currently at the center of a financial scandal involving a Vatican bank, the U.S.-based Papal Foundation, and millions of euros from misallocated government grants.