Vatican Bank Goes to Court over Frozen Funds

By Guy Dinmore
Financial Times
October 7, 2010

The Vatican has taken what is believed to be the unprecedented step of resorting to an Italian court in an effort to free ˆ23m ($32m) belonging to its bank that was frozen by the Italian authorities during an investigation into a suspected breach of anti-money laundering regulations.

Vincenzo Scordamaglia, a lawyer representing the Institute of Religious Works (IOR), as the Vatican bank is formally known, said he had filed a case with a Rome tribunal on Thursday to challenge the seizure of the bank’s funds. A first hearing is scheduled for Friday.

In the first case of its kind, the Italian judiciary last month froze ˆ23m held by the Vatican bank in an account in Credito Artigiano, an Italian bank. The Vatican bank’s two top officials – Ettore Gotti Tedeschi and Paolo Cipriani – were placed under investigation for suspected breach of anti-money laundering norms.


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