Money laundering at the Vatican Bank?

I don’t know anything beyond the news reports that began trickling out yesterday:

The head of the Vatican bank has formally been placed under investigation in an inquiry into a suspected violation of Italy’s money-laundering laws, judicial sources said today. At the same time, a judge in Rome ordered a freeze on €23m (£19.5m) held in an account opened by the Vatican bank, the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR), at another financial institution in the Italian capital. It was thought to be the first time such action had been authorised against the IOR in Italy. (UK Guardian)

The Vatican is standing behind the two men under investigation:

The Vatican expressed its full confidence in Mr Gotti Tedeschi. In a statement it expressed surprise at the investigation and said it remained committed to financial transparency. (Financial Times)

This morning’s Vatican Informative Service bulletin echoed the above. This isn’t the first time the people charged with handling the Vatican’s finances have come under suspicion.

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3 thoughts on “Money laundering at the Vatican Bank?

  1. Geoffrey says:

    Thomas:

    Dr. Robert Moynihan of “Inside the Vatican” magazine has some wonderful insights into all this. I forwarded you two emails from him.

  2. Mike M says:

    I wouldn’t put it past the bank to be involved in some shady business… after all, it is a bank with some unique legal properties which I would imagine some people might like to use to guard their privacy for some transactions they’d rather keep out of people’s eyes.

    At the same time, what little information the media’s printed so far makes it sound at least as likely that this whole thing is an unnecessary witch hunt.

    1. wtrmute says:

      Quoth the Secretariat of State of the Holy See (via the Vatican Information Services bulletin linked above):

      “The Holy See thus expresses its perplexity and amazement at this initiative by the Procurator’s Office in Rome, bearing in mind the fact that the necessary information is already available at the competent office of the Bank of Italy, and that similar operations regularly take place with other Italian credit institutions.”

      If it is so, then it’s just a simple matter of Bank of Italy going over the documentation and explaining matters once and for all.

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