TIME Explains: The Vatican Bank’s Treasure Chest

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The Vatican bank, a private institution located in a medieval tower inside the walls of Vatican city, recently published its first financial report in its 125-year history, reflecting Pope Francis’s push for greater transparency at the secretive financial institution.

The move comes at a time when the bank has been dogged by decades of scandals and more recent allegations of money-laundering. Just last week, a Reuters investigation unveiled that the bank is likely to close all accounts held by foreign embassies, following concerns over large cash transactions by officials from Iran, Iraq and Indonesia.

The inner workings of the Vatican bank can tell us a lot about the Catholic Church. Here’s what you need to know.

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