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Bush security aide joins Vatican bank committee

Pope Francis dismissed the Italian five-man board of the Vatican's Financial Information Authority and named new members including a woman for the first time and a former security adviser to US President George W Bush.

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis on Thursday dismissed the Italian five-man board of the Vatican's Financial Information Authority and named new members including a woman for the first time and a former security adviser to US President George W Bush.

Juan Zarate from the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, who was Bush's deputy national security adviser for counter-terrorism, will now have to enforce transparency rules for scandal-hit Vatican finances.

The three others chosen are Italian manager Maria Farina, Swiss financial consultant Marc Odendall and Joseph Pillay, who helped build up Singapore's economy as a top civil servant and businessman, the Vatican said in a statement.

The five Italian members of the body, who were appointed by the Pope's predecessor Benedict XVI, were dismissed in what a source told Vatican affairs news agency I.MEDIA was part of a bid by Francis to get rid of the "old guard".

Vatican finances have been hit by a series of scandals in recent years and two former directors of the Vatican bank, officially known as the Institute for Religious Works, are facing trial in Italy for money laundering.

Benedict XVI and Francis have instituted a series of major reforms aimed at cleaning up the bank and promoting greater transparency in a bid to align the Vatican with international financial norms.

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