Taiwan signed a memorandum of understanding today with Vatican City to cooperate in fighting international money laundering, UDN reported. Taiwan is the first Asia-Pacific nation to sign the agreement.
The agreement was signed by Lee Hung-jin (李宏錦), head of Taiwan’s Anti-Money Laundering Division under the Investigation Bureau, and interim Vice Director of the Vatican’s Financial Information Authority Tomasso di Ruzza in the presence of Taiwan’s ambassador to the Vatican Matthew S. M. Lee (李世明).
The agreement allows financial intelligence units to work and exchange information on money laundering and financial crimes.
The agreement comes after Pope Francis insisted on reforms for the Vatican Bank, which was caught up in a scandal that saw two former officials receive four-month suspended prison sentences for failing to comply with anti-money laundering requirements. The banking scandal reportedly dated back to at least 2010.
In January, Taiwan signed a similar agreement with Saint Lucia. In total, Taiwan has signed anti-money laundering agreements with 42 countries, while the Vatican has signed with 39.