Pope Francis launches inquiry into Vatican bank

27 June 2013

Pope Francis has set up a commission of inquiry to review the activities of the Vatican bank.

The bank, which is officially known as the Institute for Religious Works, is one of the most secretive organisations in the world and recent scandals involving allegations of money laundering have forced the Pope to take action.

This new commission has been set up to ensure the bank operates in harmony with the mission of the Church and includes Harvard law professor Mary Ann Glendon and four senior clerics: Italian cardinal Raffaele Farina, French cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, Spanish bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta Ochoa de Chinchetru and US cleric Monsignor Peter Bryan Wells.

Earlier in the month, Pope Francis named a trusted cleric to oversee the management of the bank, which has 114 employees and $7.1 billion in assets.

Ernst von Freyberg was named the bank's new chairman in February, eight months after his predecessor left following a money laundering inquiry.

By Gary Cooper

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