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Vatican City Goes Cash-Only After Terminals Shut Down

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Visitors of the Vatican Museum in Vatican City will need cash to buy tickets and souvenirs in the aftermath of Italy’s central bank ordering all payment terminals deactivated, AFP reported Jan. 3.

The central bank informed Deutsche Bank Italia, which handles bank card payments in Vatican City, to immediately halt card payments until further notice because Vatican City reportedly does not implement anti-money laundering legislation.

An anti-money laundering program essentially states that money laundering, or concealing the source of money obtained illegally and introducing it into the economy, is a crime and each jurisdiction should provide the legal authority and tools needed for regulators to police activities at financial institutions.

The central bank’s decision affects anyone attempting to pay by card at the museum, which an estimated 5 million tourists visited, spending a total of 91.3 million euros ($120.8 million U.S.), last year, according to Italian press reports.

In addition to the museum, visitors to the pharmacy, post office and shops in Vatican City are being asked to pay in cash.

Italian central bank sources told La Repubblica that the Vatican was not observing international AML rules, therefore an Italian-registered Deutsche Bank Italia cannot operate on its territory.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told Corriere della Sera that the state is working to find a non-Italian bank to work with and the suspension should be "short lived."

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