Vatican Bank issues annual report

Report open to public scrutiny for the first time

The Institute of Works of Religion, the Vatican Bank, has, for the first time, released its annual report for public scrutiny.

Despite a record year in 2012, in which the bankís profits surged to Ä86.6 million, the report predicts that the coming financial year will be more challenging, not least, it says, due to ongoing reforms of the institution and rising interest rates on financial markets.

In terms of reform, the issuing of the report is yet another step undertaken by the bankís chief, Ernst von Freyberg, to rehabilitate the institutionís image, battered by numerous scandals in recent times.

As the report was issued, it was reported by media in Italy that the Vatican bank is set to close down all accounts held by foreign embassies following concerns raised about money laundering, specifically in relation to transactions linked with Iran, Iraq and Indonesia.