Monday, July 1, 2013

Vatican bank president Ernst von Freyberg: Vatican bank promises sweeping change as senior staff Resign

Sweeping changes at the top of the Vatican's scandal-ridden bank were announced on Monday night following the arrest of a senior church official in the latest of a string of scandals to have hit the institution.

The bank's recently appointed president, Ernst von Freyberg, said its two top officials – the director and deputy director – had both resigned. He thanked them for their "personal dedication" but added: "It is clear today that we need new leadership."

The departures came three days after the arrest of an official in another Vatican financial department, Monsignor Nunzio Scarano. The Italian authorities said he was a suspect in two inquiries involving alleged corruption and money laundering respectively.

Transactions made through Scarano's accounts at the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR) – popularly known as the Vatican bank – are central to both investigations. The IOR, which does not lend money and is thus not technically a bank, was set up in 1942 to handle the deposits mainly of church organisations and individual clerics. But accounts are known to have been opened for outsiders and the IOR has repeatedly been at the heart of financial scandals, often involving alleged money-laundering.

VATICAN CITY

The Guardian (UK)

John Hooper in Rome

The Guardian, Monday 1 July 2013

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