Director of Vatican Bank Resigns Under Pressure

By Alessandro Speciale| Religion News Service, Published: May 24

http://wapo.st/JqAQ7F

VATICAN CITY — In an unprecedented move, the board of the Vatican Bank on Thursday (May 24) forced its president, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, to resign.According to a Vatican statement, the bank’s supervisory council unanimously passed a no-confidence motion in Gotti Tedeschi for his “failure to fulfill various primary functions of his office.” Carl A. Anderson, the supreme knight of the U.S.-based Knights of Columbus, is one of the council’s four members.

The Vatican’s chief spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, declined to give more details on the reasons for the dismissal, but analysts say the move should be read in the context of an internal Vatican struggle over controversial new rules for financial transparency.Since 2010, Gotti Tedeschi, together with the bank’s director general, Paolo Cipriani, has been under investigation for alleged money laundering.

In the past, the Vatican Bank, which operates under the protection of the Vatican’s status as a sovereign nation, has been often accused of involvement in shady financial operations, such as money laundering for Italian politicians and even mafia bosses.

According to Giuseppe Di Taranto, professor of finance with LUISS University in Rome, in recent years “Pope Benedict XVI has spearheaded an effort to bring more transparency to the Vatican,” seeking its entry into an international list of financially transparent countries.

A key step in this direction was the creation of an independent financial watchdog in December 2010. But according to internal Vatican documents leaked in recent months to the Italian press, the watchdog panel’s effective powers have been at the center of a heated Vatican power struggle.

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