Friday, June 28, 2013

Pope Appoints Commission To Investigate Vatican Bank Amid Money Laundering Arrests

AKI reports today that the Vatican says it will cooperate fully with Italian authorities in their investigation of the Vatican Bank's (IOR) involvement in money laundering.  Today authorities arrested Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, a Vatican accountant on suspicion of fraud, corruption and slander. Scarano was suspended last month from the Vatican's Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See which manages the Vatican's assets. Also arrested today were an Italian secret services agent and a financial broker who are suspected of involvement in an attempt to illegally move 20 million Euros to Italy. According to Deutsche Welle:
Earlier this week the AP ... reported that Scarano had withdrawn more than half a million euros in charitable donations without any flags being raised, walked out of Vatican City with the cash, and then used it to pay off a personal mortgage.
On Friday, dpa quoted Italian prosecutors as saying Bishop Scarano had paid Zito [the former intelligence officer] 400,000 euros ($520,000) to transport 20 million euros in cash from Switzerland to Italy onboard a private jet.
On Wednesday the Vatican announced that Pope Francis has set up a 5-member Pontifical Commission to investigate IOR's activities. It is charged with "gather[ing] accurate information on the Institute's legal position and various activities, in order to allow, if necessary, a better harmonization of the same with the universal mission of the Apostolic See."  (Chirograph establishing the Commission.) Among the Commission members is Harvard Law Professor Mary Ann Glendon, a former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican.

UPDATE: The Director and Deputy Director of the Vatican Bank resigned on July 1. (National Catholic Reporter.)