Report: Vatican Bank Chief Investigated in Italy

Monsters and Critics
September 21, 2010

Rome - Italian authorities are investigating the chairman of the Vatican Bank, the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), in connection with a money laundering probe, news reports said Tuesday.

Ettore Gotti Tedeschi and another, unidentified, top IOR official were among those being investigated by prosecutors in Rome, the ANSA news agency said.

Tax police have also 'preventively' seized some 23 million euros (30.2 million dollars) deposited by IOR in an account of a Rome branch of the Milan-based bank, Credito Artigiano, ANSA said.

Prosecutors are examining the alleged contravention of anti-money laundering provisions introduced in 2007.

These require banks to notify authorities of transactions involving non-European Union financial institutions such as the IOR.

The IOR handles accounts of the religious orders and other Catholic associations using the offshore status of the Holy See.

In 1982 the IOR was embroiled in the collapse of an Italian bank the Banco Ambrosiano, of which it was the major shareholder.

The IOR's then head, Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, was under consideration for indictment in 1982 in Italy as an accessory of the bankruptcy, but was protected by his diplomatic immunity as a Vatican prelate.

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