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Latest Vatican Bank Reforms Meant To Finally End Scandals

The Vatican Bank, plagued by money laundering and corruption allegations, is on the way to becoming a normal boring bank.
Posted at 8:38 PM, Jul 09, 2014

Pope Francis has vowed to reform the Vatican's scandal-plagued finances, and a series of major overhauls announced Wednesday looks to make good on the promise, especially regarding the Vatican Bank. (Via Getty Images)

The bank, also known as the Institute for Religious Works, is a decades-long source of embarrassment for the Holy See. Isolated from Europe's banking regulators, it's long been called "The Most Secret Bank in the World." And investigations into what goes on there have turned up some serious crimes. (Via Getty Images, Forbes)

"An Italian court investigating the bank found documents showing some accounts had been used for money laundering and other illegal — and for the church, highly embarrassing — activities." (Via CBS)

Shortly after Francis was elected, a senior bank cleric was arrested on charges of conspiring to smuggle $26 million into the Vatican on a private plane. (Via The Sydney Morning Herald)

Last year, Vatican insiders say Francis began attempting to reform the bank and make its operations more transparent. So how's he doing so far?

Well, if Francis wants to avoid the appearance of financial excess in the Vatican, he's making progress with the bank. Tuesday, it announced profits had shrunk 97 percent, due mostly to closing shady accounts and hiring outside help to review the bank's books. (Via BBC)

​Wednesday marks phase two of the reform plan. French finance executive Jean-Baptiste de Franssu was appointed to be the bank's new president. And broad control over the Vatican's finances was given to Australian cardinal George Pell. (Via The Vatican)

Pell told a Boston Globe editor his goal was to be "boringly successful, to get off the gossip pages."

Another notable reform announced Wednesday: the recruitment of former BBC chairman Chris Patten to advise top Vatican officials on their media strategy.

As though the Pope needs any help cracking social media. He's got 4.2 million followers on Twitter!