Tuesday, July 2, 2013

 

More heads roll in Vatican banking scandal

Two Vatican bank leaders — the director and deputy — resigned over allegations of collaborating in a smuggling plot.

Vatican bank, director resigns, scandal, money smuggling plot
Dark days are here for the scandal-plagued Vatican bank, shown here, after 2 leaders resigned in the wake of an alleged smuggling plot.
The latest heads to roll in a Vatican banking scandal are bank director Paolo Cipriani and his deputy, Massimo Tulli, who both resigned Monday.

Concerns have been raised that the embattled bank, called the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR in Italian initials), may be an offshore tax haven.

In another recent development, Vatican accountant Monsignor Nunzio Scarano was arrested, accused of corruption and slander,  in a plot to smuggle $26 million to Switzerland while bypassing customs.
The Associated Press reports that Scarano allegedly collaborated with both Cipriani and Tulli in this plot. In addition to the Rome arrest, Scarano is also being investigated for money laundering in the southern Italian city of Salerno.

Last year, then-bank president Ettore Gotti Tedeschi was fired for incompetence and erratic behavior, according to the AP.

A statement from the Vatican says the resignations were “in the best interest of the institute and the Holy See,” according to CBS News.

Cipriani’s high-profile troubles date to 2010 when he and the bank’s president at the time were investigated. The inquiry came as police seized nearly $30 million, with allegations of violations of Italy’s anti-money-laundering norms. There were no charges and the funds were released.

A story on Vatican Radio announced that bank president Ernst von Freyberg will take over directorial duties in the interim.  

“Since 2010 the IOR and its management have been working hard to bring structures and processes in line with international standards for anti-money laundering,” von Freyberg said in the Vatican Radio story.


“While we are grateful for what has been achieved, it is clear today that we need new leadership to increase the pace of this transformation process. 

Our progress is in no small measure due to the continued support from the governing bodies of the Institute and its personnel.”

Rolando Marranci, a former chief operating officer at a London Italian bank, has been named acting deputy director.

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