Pope replaces cardinal at head of Vatican financial authority

Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:41am EST
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By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis on Thursday replaced a cardinal who played a senior role in Vatican finances for more than a decade, in his latest move to clear out the old financial guard associated with his predecessor.

The Vatican said the pope had accepted the resignation of Cardinal Atillio Nicora as president of the Vatican's Financial Information Authority (AIF), its internal regulatory watchdog.

Nicora, 76, held high-level roles in Vatican finances since 2002. He was replaced by Bishop Giorgio Corbellini, 66, who has a track record of reform within the Vatican bureaucracy.

The move, which follows the replacement of four cardinals connected to the Vatican bank on January 15, came as Francis is approaching the first anniversary of a pontificate marked by austerity and sobriety.

With Thursday's move, he has made a nearly total break with the clerical financial establishment he inherited from his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who resigned last year.

From 2002 to 2011, Nicora served as head of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), which manages the city-state's real estate holdings and financial and stock portfolios and also acts as a purchasing and human resources department.

Between 2007 and 2013 he was also on a commission of cardinals that oversaw the troubled Vatican bank, which is now undergoing a process of reform to make it conform to international standards of transparency and against money laundering.

A 2012 report by Moneyval, a monitoring committee of the Council of Europe, expressed concern that there were people with roles both at AIF, whose mandate includes regulating the bank, and at the bank itself.   Continued...

Pope Francis attends a meeting with Austrian bishops at the Vatican January 30, 2014. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano