AN “error of procedure” at the Vatican bank is being exploited to attack the Vatican with a money- laundering investigation, the bank’s president said in an interview published yesterday.
Vatican bank officials are under investigation for suspected money laundering and police have frozen €23 million of its funds, Italian judicial sources said on yesterday.
The bank’s presidentEttore Gotti Tedeschi told financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore he felt humiliated by the investigation and it all centred around a mistake.
“An error of procedure is being used as an excuse to attack the institute, its president and the Vatican in general,” Gotti Tedeschi told the paper.
He said the operation in question “was a normal treasury operation and it involved a transfer from accounts of the Vatican bank to other accounts of the Vatican bank”.
Gotti Tedeschi and bank director general Paolo Cipriani are under investigation by Rome magistrates Nello Rossi andStefano Fava for alleged violations of EU money laundering regulations.
The Vatican expressed “perplexity and amazement” at the actions by the Rome magistrates and “utmost faith” in the two men who head the bank, officially known as the Institute for Religious Works (IOR).
Two recent transfers from an IOR account in the Italian bank were deemed suspicious byfinancial police and block- ed. One was a transfer of €20m to a German branch of a US bank and another of €3m to an Italian bank.
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