Vatican expressed great surprise at the news that broke today involving Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, the head of the Vatican Bank, being placed under investigation by Rome magistrates under suspicions of money-laundering by the bank. The Vatican Bank, or Institute for Works of Religion as it is called, had one if its accounts containing 23 million euros (or 30 million USD) frozen by the Italian police earlier today while Rome prosecutors probe the accusations against the head of the bank.
“It is well known that the authorities of the Holy See have frequently manifested a clear desire for full transparency regarding the financial operations of the Institute for Works of Religion,” the Vatican said today in an e-mailed statement.
Other than expressing “surprise” and “bewilderment”, the Holly See also stated they had full confience in 65-year-old Gotti Tedeschi who is not only the head of the Vatican Bank since September 2009, but also a professor of financial ethics at Milan’s Catholic University.
This is not the first scandal around the Vatican Bank, as in 1982 the institution was also involved in the fraudulent bankruptcy of Banco Ambrosiano, Italy’s largest private bankat that time. The bank is currently “under pressure to adopt new financial standards following a 2009 push by the Group of 20 nations for greater transparency, according to Reuters. The IOR has been working ‘for some time’ with the Bank of Italy and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ‘for the Holy See’s inclusion in the so-called White List,’ according to the statement.”
This is another big hit for the Vatican. The Church has been fighting with serious child abuse and pedophilia accusations throughout 2010. With another dark hole in their image, the Vatican and the Catholic Church worldwide will have a hard time rebuilding trust and recovering from this long series of powerful blows.