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VATICAN CITY – The Vatican’s newspaper on Thursday praised as a step toward “ethical finance” a deal announced by the Swiss and U.S. governments to settle American demands for the identities of suspected tax dodgers.
L’Osservatore Romano said the deal marks “significant progress in the fight against tax evasion and in the direction of a more controlled finance.”
It is “a step forward toward that model of ethical finance described by (Pope) Benedict XVI,” Osservatore wrote.
Benedict last month published an encyclical calling for a new world financial order guided by ethics, denouncing the profit-at-all-cost mentality blamed for causing the global financial meltdown.
An encyclical is the most authoritative document a pope can issue and July’s was the third of Benedict’s pontificate.
The deal announced Wednesday is a hard blow for tax havens and Europe should follow the U.S. example and do more in the fight against tax dodgers, Osservatore wrote.
So far, details of the agreement have been kept under wraps, including how many of the 52,000 names sought by the IRS tax agency from banking giant UBS AG will be revealed.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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