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Italy and Vatican to uncover secret banking

Italy and Vatican to uncover secret banking
Pope Francis last year installed a cardinal to overhaul Vatican finances. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

Negotiations are underway between the Holy See and the Italian government to share financial information, paving the way to put an end to secrecy at the Vatican bank, the pontiff's secretary of state said on Wednesday.

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Following rumours that top Vatican and Italian officials were discussing a deal, Cardinal Pietro Parolin on Wednesday confirmed “negotiations are underway” between the two states.

The Holy See is working towards “a process of better transparency and of better collaboration with Italy in the fiscal spheres,” Parolin told journalists.

“We hope that we can soon arrive at a conclusion that I think could be beneficial for everyone,” the secretary of state added.

Parolin would not be moved on precisely when a deal would likely be reached, although said the two governments were “working at a good pace”.

Pope Francis last year brought in an Australian cardinal, George Pell, to clean up the Holy See’s finances and ensure greater transparency. The revamp is now moving beyond the Vatican walls, Parolin said, with the Holy See working with a number of other states on possible financial agreements.

The Italian government is also seeking greater cooperation abroad, in recent weeks signing deals with Monaco and Switzerland to catch people hiding funds abroad. The new agreements are set to help Italy recover some of the €90 billion lost through tax evasion each year.

READ MORE: Italy-Monaco in pact against tax evasion

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