U.S. adds Vatican to money-laundering concern list
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Toronto Sun
Posted: March 13th, 2012
The Vatican has for the first time appeared on the U.S. State Departments list of money-laundering centres. It was added to the list because it was considered vulnerable to money-laundering. To be considered a jurisdiction of concern merely indicates that there is a vulnerability to a financial system by money launderers. With the large volumes of international currency that goes through the Holy See, it is a system that makes it vulnerable as a potential money-laundering center, Susan Pittman of the State Departments Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, told Reuters. The Vatican Bank, founded in 1942 by Pope Pius XII, has been in the spotlight since September 2010 when Italian investigators froze 23 million euros ($33 million) in funds in Italian banks after opening an investigation into possible money-laundering. The bank said it did nothing wrong and was just transferring funds between its own accounts. The money was released in June 2011 but the investigation is continuing. Two months ago, Italian newspapers published leaked internal letters which appeared to show a conflict among top Vatican officials about just how transparent the bank should be about dealings that took place before it enacted its new laws. The Vatican Bank was formally known as the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) and was entangled in the collapse 30 years ago of Banco Ambrosiano, with its lurid allegations about money-laundering, freemasons, mafiosi and the mysterious death of Ambrosiano chairman Roberto Calvi - Gods banker.