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African banks drawn into Vatican cash scandal

Publish date: 12 September 2013
Issue Number: 381
Diary: Legalbrief Forensic
Category: General

A Standard Bank branch in Uganda has been drawn into the illicit money scandal involving the Vatican Bank, according to a Sunday Times report which says a branch of Malaysia's Standard Chartered in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, has also been linked to the investigation.

The Vatican Bank has been embroiled in a money-laundering scheme, and Pope Francis is committed to cleaning up the scandal, according to the report. It notes he has appointed SA's Cardinal Wilfred Napier to a 15-member task team reform the bank. The report says international banking giants JPMorgan Chase and HSBC have closed the Vatican's accounts around the world to reduce risks of money laundering. Last week, notes the report, a Ugandan woman, Esther Nobasa, appeared in the Mbarara District Court, 18km outside Kampala, for receiving large sums of money from the Vatican Bank. Stanlib and Standard Chartered have confirmed that their officials in Uganda will take part in hearings into how the money was transferred on 13 February this year from the Holy See to accounts under their management, the report notes. Full Sunday Times report (subscription needed)