Vatican Bank Money Laundering Scandal

Authorities from the Italian Financial Police seized $30 million from a Vatican bank account, Monday and investigated two top bank officials. According to the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, it started when the Bank of Italy told authorities about the possible violation of the Vatican Bank of the anti-money laundering laws.

The Vatican is said to have asked the Credito Artigiano to carry out two wire transfers without providing enough information regarding the transfer to comply with the law. The two wire transfers are: (1) $ 26 million for the JP Morgan in Franfurt and another (2) $4 million for the Banca del Fucino.

The two top officials of the Vatican Bank are bank’s chairman, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, and his director general, Paolo Cipriani. They are currently under investigation through the Rome prosecutor’s office.

The Vatican Bank is also called Institute for Works of Religion, or IOR. It is  considered the most secret bank in the world as revealed by a money laundering expert, Jeffrey Robinson, because there’s no way to find out how much money the institution controlled.

The Vatican Bank was created through an order of the Pope who is the head of the city of Vatican. Its purpose is to carry on the activities that are related to the Pope. It accepts deposits from the top officials of the Catholic Church and uses its funds for the purposes as designated by the Pope.

This money laundering scandal faced by the Vatican Bank is not actually the first scandal happened. In 1982, the Banco Ambrosiano in which Vatican Bank is the major shareholder of it collapsed.  The head of the Vatican Bank at that time, Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, was indicted as the accessory of the bankruptcy, although he avoided the conviction due to his diplomatic immunity as a Vatican prelate.

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