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Originally published Wednesday, December 29, 2010 at 5:43 AM

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Vatican creates financial watchdog amid bank probe

The Vatican has created a new financial watchdog agency and issued new laws to comply with international rules fighting money laundering and terrorist financing.

The Associated Press

VATICAN CITY —

The Vatican has created a new financial watchdog agency and issued new laws to comply with international rules fighting money laundering and terrorist financing.

The decrees were passed as Vatican's own bank remains implicated in a money-laundering investigation that resulted in ?23 million ($31 million) being seized and its top two officials under investigation.

Pope Benedict XVI signed the documents Thursday, saying the Vatican wanted to join other countries that have cracked down on legal loopholes that have allowed criminals to exploit the financial sector.

The decree creates an independent Vatican compliance watchdog, the Financial Information Authority, to ensure Vatican financial transactions comply with laws and to liaise with the EU.

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