Vatican Money Laundering? U.S. Places City-State On Drug Money Watchlist

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The Obama administration is for the first time citing Vatican City as a potential hub for money laundering. | Getty Images

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration is for the first time citing Vatican City as a potential hub for money laundering.

The State Department's annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report released Wednesday identifies the Holy See as one of 68 countries or jurisdictions "of concern" for money laundering or other financial crimes. Officials said the Vatican is on the list because it isn't clear whether a year-old anti-money laundering regime is effective.

The report, which places Belgium, Ireland, Portugal and South Korea on the same list, identifies countries that may be vulnerable to money laundering. It looks at national laws to fight financial crime, their enforcement and the size of the banking sector. Major economies, including the U.S., Britain and Japan, are identified as countries of primary concern for money laundering.

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