Vatican Probed, For A Change - Poem by Ray Lucero
The saying goes “Turnabout is fair play”
Church gets probed for banking crime
For when priests on choirboys’ did prey
B’cuz God punishes evil from time to time
From; Huffington Post 09-21-2010
VATICAN CITY — Italian authorities seized euro23 million ($30 million) from a Vatican bank account Tuesday and said they have begun investigating top officials of the Vatican bank in connection with a money-laundering probe.
The Vatican said it was 'perplexed and surprised' by the investigation.
Italian financial police seized the money as a precaution and prosecutors placed the Vatican bank's chairman and director general under investigation for alleged mistakes linked to violations of Italy's anti-laundering laws, news reports said.
The investigation is not the first trouble for the bank – formally known as the Institute for Works of Religion. In the 1980s, it was involved in a major scandal that resulted in a banker, dubbed 'God's Banker' because of his close ties to the Vatican, being found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge in London.
The Vatican expressed full trust in the chairman of the bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, and his director-general, identified by the Vatican directory as Paolo Cipriani. It said the bank had been working for some time to make its finances more transparent to comply with anti-terrorism and anti-money-laundering regulations.
'The Holy see is perplexed and surprised by the initiatives of the Rome prosecutors, considering the data necessary is already available at the Bank of Italy, ' it said in a statement.
Gotti Tedeschi told state-run RAI television that he was 'humiliated and mortified' by news of the probe, which he said had arrived just as he was implementing new transparency procedures at the bank.
News reports circulated more than a year ago that Italian investigators were scrutinizing millions of euros worth of Vatican bank transactions to see if they violated money-laundering regulations.
In Tuesday's case, police seized the money from a Vatican bank account at the Rome branch of Credito Artigiano Spa, according to news agencies ANSA and Apcom. The bulk of the money, euro20 million ($26 million) , was destined for JP Morgan in Frankfurt, with the remainder going to Banca del Fucino.
According to the reports, the Vatican bank had neglected to communicate to financial authorities where the money had come from. The reports stressed that Gotti Tedeschi wasn't being investigated for laundering money himself but for a series of alleged omissions in financial transactions.
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