J.Y. Pillay appointed to Vatican's financial watchdog

J.Y. Pillay appointed to Vatican's financial watchdog
Mr Pillay, 80, is chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers, and also Tiger Airways chairman.

One of Singapore's most experienced civil servants and corporate figures, Mr J.Y. Pillay, has been appointed to the Vatican's Financial Information Authority.

Mr Pillay, 80, currently Tiger Airways chairman, joins former foreign minister George Yeo, who was chosen by Pope Francis to help him reform the Holy See.

According to wire reports, Pope Francis replaced the board of the Vatican's financial regulator after an investigation into alleged money laundering at the city-state's bank.

The new four-person board at the Financial Information Authority also includes directors from Italy, Switzerland and the United States.

Pope Francis, 77, has sought to clean up the scandal-hit institution he inherited from his predecessor Benedict XVI since his election as Pope in March last year.

His reform efforts intensified last June when Italy's financial police arrested Nunzio Scarano, a priest and former accountant at the Vatican, on charges of plotting to transport €20 million (S$34 million) from Switzerland.

In March last year, he named Mr Yeo a member of the Vatican's new Council for the Economy, alongside six other laypeople and eight cardinals.

The new directors of the Financial Information Authority are Mr Juan Zarate, a Harvard professor and former US deputy national security adviser; Ms Maria Bianca Farina, an executive at the Italian postal service; Mr Marc Odendall, a financial consultant in Swiss philanthropy; and Mr Pillay. Together, their experience spans the areas of business, philanthropy, public policy and academia.

Mr Pillay carved a name for himself in the civil service. He was the permanent secretary of several ministries, including finance, defence and national development, and was the managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

He has also held various leadership roles in the private sector, including chairman of the Singapore Exchange, and has been credited with leading the growth of Singapore Airlines from a small start-up to a world-class carrier. He is also chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers.


This article was first published on June 7, 2014.
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