Vat­i­can bank's ousted pres­i­dent comes out swing­ing

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

VAT­I­CAN CITY: The ousted pres­i­dent of the Vat­i­can bank came out swing­ing af­ter he was cleared in a money-laun­der­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion, ac­cus­ing the bank's board of caus­ing "grave dam­age" to the Holy See by fir­ing him in 2012. Ettore Gotti Tedeschi ended a nearly two-year si­lence with a state­ment is­sued af­ter a Rome judge threw out a Vat­i­can bank-re­lated in­ves­ti­ga­tion against him. The court ruled Gotti Tedeschi had noth­ing to do with daily op­er­a­tions at the In­sti­tute for Re­li­gious Works and was in fact work­ing to bring the Vat­i­can's fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion into line with in­ter­na­tional anti-money-laun­der­ing stan­dards when he was fired.

In a five-page state­ment en­ti­tled "The Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of Ettore Gotti Tedeschi," the banker's at­tor­neys said the rul­ing vin­di­cated their client and "shows the un­founded ac­cu­sa­tions" made by the bank's board when it fired him. The lawyers threat­ened le­gal ac­tion and said the rul­ing showed the board had com­mit­ted "grave er­rors and thus grave dam­age to the Holy See" by fir­ing their client when he was work­ing to im­prove trans­parency and ac­count­abil­ity.

The bank said it had no com­ment. Gotti Tedeschi's May 2012 ouster was an un­usu­ally bru­tal pub­lic dress­ing-down of a Vat­i­can of­fi­cial said to have had the ear of Pope Bene­dict XVI. In ex­plain­ing its no-con­fi­dence vote at the time, the bank's board is­sued a sting­ing, nine-point state­ment ac­cus­ing him of a host of per­sonal and pro­fes­sional short­com­ings. None of them had to do with the money-laun­der­ing case, how­ever. The court rul­ing ex­on­er­at­ing Gotti Tedeschi stemmed from a 2010 money-laun­der­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion by Rome prose­cu­tors. Po­lice seized 23 mil­lion eu­ros ($31.5 mil­lion) from a Vat­i­can bank ac­count at an Ital­ian bank, though it was later or­dered re­leased. Gotti Tedeschi and the bank's then-top man­ager, Paolo Cipriani, were placed un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Judge Flavia Costantini ruled, though, that Gotti Tedeschi had been wrongly caught up in the sweep be­cause he was the bank's le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tive. Cipriani was the pri­mary man­ager and re­mains un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion in the case. He and his deputy re­signed in dis­grace in July af­ter a Vat­i­can mon­signor was ar­rested in an al­leged money-smug­gling oper­a­tion and a money-laun­der­ing case in­volv­ing his Vat­i­can bank ac­counts.

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