27 Jun 2013

Vatican Bank commission of inquiry announced

5:04 pm on 27 June 2013

A commission of inquiry has been set up by Pope Francis to review the activities of the Vatican Bank, following recent scandals.

Earlier this month, he named a trusted cleric to oversee the management of the bank, which is known officially as the Institute for Religious Works.

The institution, one of the world's most secretive banks, has been beset by suspicions of money-laundering. The BBC reports it has 114 employees and €5.4 billion in assets.

The new commission is tasked with ensuring the bank operates in "harmony" with the mission of the Church.

Its members are: Harvard law professor Mary Ann Glendon and four others: Cardinal Raffaele Farina of Italy, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran of France, Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta Ochoa de Chinchetru of Spain and Monsignor Peter Bryan Wells on the United States.

On 15 June, the Pope appointed Monsignor Battista Mario Salvatore Ricca as the bank's interim prelate - effectively his representative at the institution.

In February, German lawyer Ernst von Freyberg was named the bank's new chairman, eight months after his predecessor was ousted amid a money-laundering inquiry.

His appointment was one of the last acts of Pope Benedict XVI.