Vatican Bank chairman accused of money laundering
The Catholic Church has experienced a landslide of scandals in recent decades that it would rather forget. The old adage that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” may have some currency in the minds of the faithful, but the church’s current scandal has a lot to do with currency, so perhaps that’s a poor choice of words. BBC News reports that the head of the Vatican Bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, is under investigation for suspicion of money laundering. Currently, $30 million (23 million euros) has been seized by prosecutors in the case from Vatican Bank’s account with a smaller financial institution.
Suspicious Vatican Bank transactions reported to Italian tax police
Vatican Bank was created during World War II to be the bank for religious officials of the Catholic Church. Known officially as the Institute for Religious Works, the organization has the full support of the Vatican. In a statement, Vatican officials reiterated their support for Tedeschi, but went on record as saying that the state is officially “perplexed and astonished” by the money laundering accusations.
Tedeschi and a senior Vatican Bank official are being accused of participating in suspicious activities with two different Italian banks and violating national laws regarding financial transparency. The 23 million euros were seized from Vatican Bank’s account with Credito Artigianato, according to reports.
Vatican Bank has drawn suspicion before
BBC News reports that in 1982, Vatican Bank was involved in the scandal surrounding its governor, Archbishop Paul Marcinkus. Marcinkus was indicted due to his involvement in the collapse of Banco Ambrosiano, which was Italy’s largest private bank at that time. The archbishop wasn’t arrested, but public opinion was that Vatican Bank had blood on its hands after two top executives of Banco Ambrosiano – including Chairman Roberto Calvi – were murdered. According to the BBC, Calvi was widely known as “God’s Banker” because of his close financial ties to the Vatican.
It’s now a formal investigation against Ettore Gotti Tedeschi