Pope fires entire board of Vatican financial watchdog

June 06, 2014 - 6:26:52 am

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis sacked the five-man board of the Vatican’s financial watchdog yesterday — all Italians — in the latest move to break with an old guard associated with a murky past under his predecessor.

The Vatican said the Pope named four experts from Switzerland, Singapore, the United States and Italy to replace them on the board of the Financial Information Authority (AIF). The new board includes a woman for the first time. All five outgoing members were Italians who had been expected to serve five-year terms ending in 2016.

Reformers inside the Vatican had been pushing for the pope, who already has taken a series of steps to clean up Vatican finances, to appoint professionals with an international background to work with Rene Bruelhart, a Swiss lawyer who heads the AIF and who has been pushing for change.

The new board of the AIF includes Marc Odendall, who administers and advises philanthropic organisations in Switzerland, and Juan C Zarate, a Harvard law professor and senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank based in Washington D.C.

The other two board members are Joseph Yuvaraj Pillay, former managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore and senior advisor to that country’s president, and Maria Bianca Farina, the head of two Italian insurance companies. AFP

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