Bank of Italy Warned Lenders on IOR Transactions, Corriere Says

The Bank of Italy sent two letters to Italian lenders this year asking them to closely scrutinize transactions involving the Vatican Bank, Corriere della Sera reported, citing the notes.

The letters, sent in January and on Sept. 9, asked lenders to inform the Bank of Italy of any failure by the Institute for Religious Works, or IOR, as the Vatican Bank is called, to respect “the most basic requirements of money-laundering rules” in transactions at Italian banks, the daily said today.

According to legislation aimed at fighting money laundering adopted in 2008, Italian lenders must apply stricter standards to non-European Union banks operating in the country, Corriere said. The IOR, which is based in sovereign Vatican City, says it doesn’t operate in Italy while the Bank of Italy claims it does, the newspaper said.

Italian police this week temporarily seized 23 million euros ($31 million) from an account at Credito Artigiano SpA registered to the IOR, as Rome prosecutors probe the IOR’s top two executives for allegedly omitting information from two wire transfers in possible violation of money-laundering laws.

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