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Mar 9, 2012 6:49 PM by Jacqui Heinrich

Vatican seeks to explain US money laundering tag

VATICAN CITY (AP) - The Vatican is seeking to explain its presence for the first time on a U.S. list of countries that are a potential hub for money laundering.

The U.S. State Department this week released its International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, which identified the Holy See as one of 68 countries or jurisdictions "of concern" for money laundering or other financial crimes.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi noted Friday that all the world's major economies - the U.S., Japan and even Italy - are identified as countries of "primary concern" for money laundering.

He said it wasn't surprising that the Vatican finds itself on the list since it recently joined a European evaluation process to try to conform to international anti-money laundering standards.

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