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Monday, June 11, 2012

Italian police have 200 page document detailing the secrets of the Vatican Bank

Vatileaks und mehr: Die Bankgeschäfte des Vatikans - Welt - Tagesspiegel

A comprehensive dossier the fired head of the "Institute for Religious Works" – the Vatican Bank- airs his frustration. The Vatican tried to stop Italian prosecutors from further investigating.

No snooping! With just a brief explanation, the Vatican wanted to prevent Italian prosecutors from deepening their investigation of the Vatican Bank, the "Institute for Religious Works" (IOR). It is a sovereign state whose internationally guaranteed rights must be respected, the Vatican notes. The fear of the Vatican is no accident. 

Because a unique source of information has opened up to the Italian prosecutors: During the search of home and office of the fired IOR chief Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, 47 folders of material fell into the hands of the prosecutors, inter-alia, a 200-page dossier, in which the frustrated banker shows his knowledge of the inside of the Vatican Bank. This paper was to be used by Gotti Tedeschi to defend himself against his dismissal three weeks ago, and it should, inter alia, be sent to the Pope, and - to a journalist - "in the event that something happens to me."  The banking professionals on the external board of IOR had passed a vote of no-confidence in Gotti Tedeschi on 24 May due to inadequate performance of his official duties. The Cardinal's Commission with overall responsibility then confirmed the dismissal.

The public prosecutor in Rome, is now hoping to be able to clarify some dirty money scandals thanks to Gotti Tedeschi's notes. In the train of the investigations, 23 million euros of the IOR have been seized: the origin and purpose of these funds which have to be assigned according to international regulations against money laundering is not sufficiently clear, as it was disclosed in September 2010.

In order to avert major damage to image, the then-president of IOR Gotti Tedeschi ran at that time to the Roman prosecutor- he wanted to ensure transparency and would also talk about mysterious anonymous accounts at the IOR.  It has not served much use: The millions were blocked for ten months- they were only released by Italy when the Vatican itself had imposed a strict law against money laundering.

Gotti Tedeschi however then began to fall from grace. The chief politicians of the Vatican State came to resent him, as he had worked so frankly with investigators of another state.  The Vatican at that time however could do next to nothing.  And so it fired Angelo Balducci, who bore the honorific title of "His Holiness's Honour."  Balducci, the Vatican's top advisor in real estate and investment matters, and at the same time head of the Italian authorities for all government contracts, had been wheeling and dealing with Roman builders and - after investigation – had hidden from the Italian tax inspectors in the Vatican Bank the millions that he had made.  Gotti Tedeschi says he wanted to bring light into the murky nature of secret accounts but had been blocked by internal "enemies" within the Vatican Bank.  On the other hand, the Vatican repeated that the bank president had not been fired because of this - "Transparency is close to the heart of the Holy See " - but because he had failed as a leader.

At the same time, another three internal letters came from the Vatican to the public. These show members of the IOR-board voicing their concern about the increasing international isolation and the "extremely fragile state" of the Vatican Bank. So writes the former General Manager of Deutsche Bank and now interim president of the IOR, Ronaldo Hermann Schmitz, that the situation had "so much worsened that I fear an imminent threat."

Gotti Tedeschi was "unfit to lead the Institute in such difficult times," as the IOR-President, was described by another member of the board, American Carl Anderson. It is noteworthy that both bankers do not accuse their former President of having created this situation, rather they say, he was no match for the situation as it was. Who the culprits are, remains open.

An example of the mudslinging as whole, which has been raging in the Vatican for weeks about the publication of secret documents, is given by the publication of the third letter. In a psychiatrist describes Gotti Tedeschi as "self-centered, narcissistic, partly detached from reality" and was suffering from a "psycho-pathological disorder."  The psychiatrist did not derive this analysis from a medical examination, but after a Christmas reception at which he had been placed next to Gotti Tedeschi - more or less randomly.

One thing is certain: the smuggling of these letters cannot be put down to the account of Paolo Gabriele.  The Butler of Pope Benedict, who had stolen the documents from the Vatican folder by folder has sat for three weeks in a cell of the Vatican Police, but the "ravens" as they are known- often in Italy also called a "mole" - who leak documents to the media continue to fly .
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