Ex-Vatican banker had secret dossier

 

Italian police searching the home and office of Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, the former head of the Vatican's bank, have found a confidential dossier relating to his three-year tenure as the bank's president, a judicial source said today.

The dossier appeared to have been put together by Mr Gotti Tedeschi to defend himself from allegations over his mismanagement of the bank.

Mr Gotti Tedeschi was ousted from his position as head of the Vatican's Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) on May 24th after the bank's board passed a motion of no-confidence, accusing him of neglecting his basic management responsibilities.

The unusually abrupt dismissal, which followed the arrest of the pope's butler for allegedly stealing confidential papal documents, was the culmination of a leaks scandal that has shaken the Vatican since January.

Police searched his home in Piacenza and office in Milan, both in northern Italy, on Tuesday on the orders of Naples prosecutors investigating alleged corruption and bribes by defence group Finmeccanica.

The Naples prosecutors and the Vatican said the Finmeccanica investigation, for which Mr Gotti Tedeschi was not placed under investigation, had nothing to do with the Vatican's bank.

The judicial source said the dossier found during the searches had been passed on to prosecutors in Rome investigating separate money laundering allegations involving the IOR.

The source described Mr Gotti Tedeschi, who was questioned by Naples and Rome magistrates yesterday, as "extremely worried."

Italian newspapers have said that, following his sacking, he "fears for his life".

Mr Gotti Tedeschi and the IOR director general, Paolo Cipriani, were put under investigation in 2010 for failing to explain the origin of €23 million which the Vatican bank transferred between accounts it held in two other banks.

The bank said at the time that it had done nothing wrong and was merely transferring its own money between its own accounts.

Prosecutors initially froze the funds, but later unblocked them.

Mr Gotti Tedeschi said after his dismissal from IOR that he had paid for his efforts to improve transparency at the bank and make it comply with international anti-money laundering standards.

The Vatican has denied this, saying he was ineffective, divisive and was himself an obstacle to transparency.

Mr Gotti Tedeschi, a 67-year old conservative Catholic, sits on the board of Italy's state financial holding Cassa Depositi e Prestiti and is chairman of the Italian retail banking operations of Spain's Banco Santander.

Reuters