Vatican Bank Commits to Transparency

Prosecutors Consider Institute a Foreign Bank

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 22, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The directors of the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR) are confirming their commitment to transparency, after a document from the Italian prosecutor's office explained the reasons behind the seizure last month of €23 million ($30 million) from the Vatican bank.


 
According to the document, the Vatican institute must be considered as "a foreign bank, not belonging to the European Union," which means that it must adapt to particular criteria in its relationship with Italian banks.
 
According to the Italian judges, the bank did not follow these norms, but acted as if it had an Italian identity, in two operations of transfer of funds between European banks for a value of €23 million ($30 million).
 
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, affirmed today in a statement that "the directors of IOR are considering the motivations adopted by the Tribunale del Riesame [a court of appeal] to confirm the preventive seizure of an IOR deposit in an account of the Credito Artigiano bank, and they are analyzing them with their legal representatives," assured Father Lombardi.
 
"In any case, the directors of IOR confirm their willingness to continue with the line of transparency in all the financial operations already indicated in the communiqué of the State Secretariat on Sept. 21, trusting that they will be able to give as soon as possible all the clarifications requested in the competent entities and organisms."

On Wednesday, Father Lombardi expessed "astonishment" over the ruling of the appeals court that upheld the move last month by Italian finance authorities to freeze a €23 million ($30 million) deposit of Vatican funds at the Credito Artigiano Bank.

The prosecutor's office in Rome also announced an investigation of Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, the president of the Vatican institute, and Paolo Cipriani, the director-general. The investigation was related to alleged violations of European Union laws against money laundering.