Even the Holy See can’t see everything.Reuters reports that the U.S. government just added The Vatican to a list of places “of concern” when it comes to laundering money. The list is part of the International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), and this is the first time the city-state has been included.
The INCSR groups 190 countries based on how easy it is to hide cash there — countries are of “primary concern”, “of concern” or “monitored.” The Vatican is in the middle group (or “of concern”) because even though it’s vulnerable, it has taken steps to prevent money laundering. There are 67 other “of concern” nations including Poland, Egypt, Ireland, Hungary and Chile.
“To be considered a jurisdiction of concern merely indicates that there is a vulnerability to a financial system by money launderers. With the large volumes of international currency that goes through the Holy See, it is a system that makes it vulnerable as a potential money-laundering centre,” Susan Pittman of the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, told Reuters.
The countries that are most vulnerable to money laundering are the ones with the biggest economies where money is easily hidden —United States, Russia, other group eight countries — and really small financial centres like Britain’s Channel Islands.