by Jeff Berwick, Dollar Vigilante

“Thou shalt not steal.” This long-standing commandment is merely a meddlesome detail, apparently, as the Vatican and the US government are teaming up to extort Americans of their hard-earned money. The US government and the Vatican make great bedfellows, considering each has a long history of corruption and violence.

As of last week, the Vatican has signed on to FATCA officially, but last December the Holy See came to agreement on most of what would become an Intergovernmental Agreement to hand over American account information.

The Treasury Department has paraded the Vatican deal around, as the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Catholic Church is a shining example of fiduciary responsibility and morality, considering the Vatican Bank’s corruption in the past.

The Vatican bank has been the one of, if not the most, secretive banks in the world.  In 2012 even Italian prosecutors detained the Vatican bank’s  former head. This was just one in a line of scandals for the officially called “Institute for Works of Religion (IOR).” Even JP Morgan apparently shut down the account of the Vatican bank  due to concerns over transparency.

Pope Francis has said he has had an eye on reforming the Vatican Bank, but the pope likely doesn’t have that much power over the financial institution. FATCA is now in effect and offers an opportunity for the Vatican Bank to make strategic partnerships so that it can continue to operate. After all, most wire transfers go through New York, which means the Vatican, if it did not fall in line with the US government, could see its funds held up or even diverted.


The occasion makes Vatican the latest of around 62 countries to sign onto the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, a 2010 law enabling financial information to be directly reported to authorities in the US. According to the Vatican Insider, there could be merely dozens of American accounts at the Vatican.

“[The agreement] aligns with our mutual commitment to detect, deter and discourage offshore tax abuse through increased transparency and enhanced reporting,” said the U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, Kenneth F. Hackett, who signed the intergovernmental agreement. “In partnership with the Holy See, we’re working towards building a stronger, more stable and more accountable global financial system,” he told journalists ahead of the signing ceremony. Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican’s foreign minister, called the occasion “unquestionably an historic event.”

“As Pope Francis frequently reminds us, evading just taxes is stealing both from the state and from the poor,” he said.  Anyone with a basic understanding of history should be read up on the long history of scandals from the Catholic Church. The recent sexual abuse cases by priests is a drop in the bucket when one considers the Churches role alongside the Nazi state.


FATCA represents a financial atrocity against the American people, and just one more atrocity in a long line of them from the Vatican and US government.  Banks the world over will have to keep track of their American clients, if they accept American clients at all. We’ve highlighted in the TDV Blog how banks are no longer accepting Americans. As we wrote:

Bobby Casey, a good friend of TDV who deals with international banks all the time recounted recent experiences he has been having. Meeting with bank representatives, “I asked if there were any changes to the bank’s policy on accepting American clients.  The answer was yes.  They no longer accept Americans as of March 1st, 2014. The reason – FATCA.  We have another Caribbean bank we work with that has, as of February 1st, stopped accepting American clients.  Just this week one of my business partners walked into a local bank in Latvia to open an account and they rejected him. Why?  He is American.”

At TDV Wealth Management our clients implement what they learn about in the TDV Newsletter. We are finding and implementing legal ways for people, especially Americans,  to diversify and internationalize their wealth. If you want to position yourself well in the FATCA age, this is where to start.

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