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28 November 2015
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Pope Francis to keep Vatican bank open
07 April 2014 16:08 by Abigail Frymann Rouch

Pope Francis has approved recommendations to keep the Vatican bank operative, ending a year of speculation over whether he would close the scandal-hit institution formally known as the Institute for Religious Works (IOR).

"The IOR will continue to serve with prudence and provide specialised financial services to the Catholic Church worldwide. The valuable services that can be offered by the Institute assist the Holy Father in his mission as universal pastor and also aid those institutions and individuals who collaborate with him in his ministry," the Vatican said today in a statement.

The bank’s purpose is to manage funds for orders of priests and nuns, missions, charities and Vatican staff. But in 2012 the European watchdog Moneyval found that it fell short of global norms on combating money laundering, the financing of terrorism and tax evasion.

The bank has been at the centre of a major clean-up effort under its president Ernst von Freyberg, who was one of the last people appointed by former Pope Benedict before he resigned in February 2013.