Accusations that the Vatican has been contravening international rules on money laundering …have recently been gathering storm.
In September, Rome prosecutors formally put the director of the Vatican Bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, and his deputy under criminal investigation after receiving a tip-off from the Bank of Italy about possible money laundering.
The Italian justice authorities seized 23m euros ($30m; £19m) which the Vatican had deposited at a branch of an Italian commercial bank near Saint Peter’s Square, allegedly without properly identifying either the depositor or the recipient.
The Vatican said there had been a misunderstanding and there had been no wrongdoing by their bank or its employees.
The Vatican Bank – known officially as the Institute for Works of Religion – has hitherto exempted itself from international banking regulations on the grounds that it is not a real bank in the normal sense of the word, our correspondent says.
It handles accounts for the Pope, his cardinals and religious orders, and has only one branch inside the apostolic palace in Rome.
The Pope just signed into law new rules to bring the Vatican’s banking regulations in line with international efforts to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
The move comes ahead of an EU deadline.