The Vatican bank’s top two officials are under investigation for suspected money laundering and police have frozen 23 million euros ($30.21 million) of its funds, Italian judicial sources said on Tuesday.
They said President Ettore Gotti Tedeschi and director-general Paolo Cipriani were being investigated by Rome magistrates Nello Rossi and Stefano Fava in a case involving alleged violations of European Union money-laundering rules.
The Vatican confirmed the Rome magistrates’ action in a statement that expressed “perplexity and amazement” at the move and “utmost faith” in the two men who head the bank, officially known as Institute for Religious Works (IOR). It said the bank had committed no wrongdoing because it was transferring its own money between its own accounts.
The IOR primarily manages funds for the Vatican and religious institutions around the world, such as charity organisations and religious orders of priests and nuns.
Its cash point machines in the Vatican are perhaps the only ATMs in the world that allow clients to choose Latin as the language to perform operations.