Sabato, 22 Settembre 2018
VATICAN CITY

More trouble for Vatican bank as executives quit

English
© ANSA

(By Kate Carlisle)
Vatican City, July 2 - Vatican bank head Paolo
Cipriani and deputy director Massimo Tulli resigned on Tuesday
following the arrest of a top Catholic prelate last Friday.
Recently appointed president, Ernst von Freyberg, will
fill in for Cipriani as Vatican Bank head, known as the Istituto
per le Opere Religiose (Institute for Religious Works, IOR).
"After many years of service, the two decided it would be
in the best interest of the institute and of the Holy See," said
a Vatican release.
The resignations of Cipriani and Tulli follow the arrest
of Msgr Nunzio Scarano, who was suspended a month ago from his
job as head of analytic accounts at the Holy See's
asset-management agency APSA when police started sifting through
his assets because of his suspiciously large financial holdings
and artistic trove.
Scarano was arrested on suspicion of planning to elude
customs controls along with Giovanni Maria Zito, a recently
transferred agent in the AISI domestic intelligence agency, and
financial broker Giovanni Carenzio.
He denies charges that he conspired with the former Italian
spy and financial broker to try to secretly repatriate 20
million euros of laundered money from Switzerland to Italy.
Police said Scarano and Zito set up a private jet to fly
the cash for three Salerno-based shipowner brothers, the
D'Amicos, whose family was friendly with Scarano.
Zito is suspected of getting 400,000 euros for arranging
cover for the flight, which never took place because of
last-minute cold feet.
The prelate told prosecutors he "acted in good faith" but
things began to unravel when Carenzio started making "excessive
demands".
Cipriani has had his own woes surrounding his handling of
Church finances.
In 2010 probes into suspicion of failing to observe Italian
money-laundering laws were opened against Cipriani, Tulli and
former IOR President Ettore Gotti Tedeschi.
While investigators said on Tuesday that Gotti Tedeschi
would most likely not be called to trial for a suspicious
23-million-euro transfer, Cipriani and Tulli risk indictment.
IOR, to which APSA is indirectly linked, said it would
launch an internal inquiry "in line with the zero-tolerance
policy promoted by (new) president Ernst von Freyberg".
The head of Italian bishops' conference CEI, Cardinal
Angelo Bagnasco, said Tuesday that he believed the resignation
of the two senior Vatican bank executives was a "concrete
episode" linked to Pope Francis's "precise will" to see the
scandal-hit institution reformed.
The Vatican Bank has made a series of moves to show greater
transparency since Argentinian Jesuit bishop Jorge Mario
Bergoglio became pope in March, succeeding Benedict XVI,
the first pontiff to voluntarily abdicate in 700 years.
Francis is reportedly keen to remove stains from IOR's
reputation and get it onto the 'white list' of countries with
unimpeachable credentials by working with the Council of
Europe's Moneyval anti-money-laundering agency.
German aristocrat and industrialist von Freyberg, appointed
in February by Pope Benedict XVI in one of his last official
acts as pontiff, last month vowed to bring greater transparency
to IOR's dealings.

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