Ettore Gotti Tedeschi of the Vatican Bank has found himself in hot water and is formally being investigated for suspected money laundering. The Vatican spokesman and Tedeschi’s office said they did not have any immediate comments on the matter.
Last Wednesday right before Pope Benedict left for Britain, the Italian revenue guard contacted prosecutors about a discrepancy in an account owned by the Vatican Bank, officially called Institute for Religious Works (IOR), at Credito Artigiano’s Rome branch.
Of the €28 million deposited in the account, only €23 million was going to be transferred to JP Morgan in Germany and €3m to another Italian bank. But in both cases, the Vatican’s bankers did not supply details of the individual or corporation arranging the transaction, which is in stark opposition to a 2007 law.
The Vatican Bank is no stranger to controversy and has a long history of withholding information from Italian authorities looking to access the bank’s records. In 1982, IOR found itself at the center of a major scandal involving the fraudulent bankruptcy of Banco Ambrosiano, Italy’s largest private bank at the time. A bad situation took a turn for the worse when two of its top executives, including its chairman, Roberto Calvi, were found murdered.