Pope sets up panel to consider reforms to Vatican bank

June 26, 2013 at 4:38 PM

VATICAN CITY, June 26 (UPI) -- Pope Francis set up a panel to consider reforms to the Institute for Religious works, popularly known as the Vatican Bank, officials said Wednesday.

The papal commission has five members, including two from the United States, Vatican Radio reported. They are Mary Ann Glendon, a professor at Harvard Law School, and Monsignor Peter Bryan Wells, a member of the Vatican Secretariat of State.

The bank, usually referred to in Italy by its Italian acronym, IOR, became embroiled in scandal after Michele Sindona became an adviser in the 1990s. Sindona allegedly used the bank and another institution, Banco Ambrosiano, in which the Vatican bank had a majority interest, to launder the profits from heroin trafficking by the Gambino crime family.

The Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican press officer, said the panel will present the pope with recommendations for reforms to the bank. He told reporters the commission is temporary and will be dissolved once it makes its findings.

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