Vatican Bank Chief Dismissed Amidst Money Laundering Investigation

The director of the Vatican Bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, has been removed from his post for dereliction of duty, the Vatican says.

The bank’s board of directors unanimously passed a no-confidence vote in Mr Gotti Tedeschi, a statement said. It said he had failed “to carry out duties of primary importance”, but it did not elaborate. In 2010, Italian police launched an investigation against Mr Gotti Tedeschi as part of a money-laundering inquiry. Members of the board believed Mr Gotti Tedeschi’s dismissal was needed to “maintain the vitality of the bank”, the Vatican statement said.

The moves comes as Moneyval, the Council of Europe body tasked with counteracting money laundering, prepares to rule at the beginning of July on whether the Vatican meets international standards on financial transactions. Memos leaked earlier this year suggest there are serious differences among Vatican officials over how far to go in ensuring financial transparency, according to media reports.

The Vatican Bank, known officially as the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), was created during World War II to administer accounts held by religious orders, cardinals, bishops and priests. It lost £250m in a scandal involving the collapse of one of Italy’s biggest private banks – the Banco Ambrosiano – in 1982, with which it had close ties. The Vatican Bank has been headed by Mr Gotti Tedeschi, 62, a trained economist, since 2009.

When Mr Gotti Tedeschi was placed under investigation in 2010, the Vatican said it was “perplexed and astonished”, and expressed full confidence in Mr Tedeschi. It said the matter was the result of a misunderstanding, and that none of its employees were involved in any wrongdoing.

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Source: BBC News

Image: Catholic Herald