VATICAN CITY, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- An uptick this year in reports of apparent financial irregularities at the Vatican bank shows efforts to crack down are working, the bank's chief watchdog says.
Rene Bruelhart told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica in an interview published Friday more problems have been reported so far in 2013 than in all of 2012, the Italian news agency ANSA reported. Six instances of possible wrongdoing were reported last year and only one in 2011.
''That fact ... signals that the system of controls is working,'' he said.
Bruelhart is the director of the Financial Information Authority. Pope Francis signed a decree Thursday that gives the agency authority to monitor all Vatican financial activities.
The Vatican Bank, officially called the Office for Religious Works, has been hit hard by accusations of money laundering.