Vatican hires Swiss anti-money laundering expert

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by Laura Matovina

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- The Vatican has hired a Swiss anti-money laundering expert to try to improve its efforts to fight financial crimes.

The announcement Tuesday comes two months after the Holy See passed a key European financial transparency test but received poor grades for its financial watchdog agency and its bank.

The Vatican said attorney Rene Bruelhart would help strengthen the Vatican's regulatory framework to fight money laundering and terrorist financing.

For eight years Bruelhart was head of Liechtenstein's financial intelligence unit -- the national agency that analyzes information about suspect financial transactions. In 2010, he was also named head of the Egmont Group, the informal group of about 130 countries' financial units aimed at sharing information.

A brief statement from the Vatican said Bruelhart had been hired as a consultant this month.

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