The Vatican is in advanced negotiations with Italian authorities to phase out secret banking at the Vatican Bank, which is referred to as the Institute for Religious Works (IOR).

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said that the move would involve "greater and more complete transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes."

An official from the Italian finance ministry said that the negotiations are expected to be closed by the end of the month.

Vatican head of economic affairs Cardinal George Pell added, "Our ambition is to become something of a model in financial management rather than a cause for occasional scandal."

IOR, currently led by Jean-Baptiste de Franssu, has been slammed by both Italian and global authorities for many years for facilitating illicit practices such as tax evasion and money laundering.

Until now, the bank has undergone a sweeping transformation closing 3,000 accounts and reforming many of its practices.

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